Licensed Child Care Reporting

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Child Fatality Reviews

The Department of Early Learning (DEL) is responsible for licensing activities to ensure that standards of health and safety are present in child care facilities in accordance with Washington State law and administrative code (regulations). Despite our focus on safety, injuries and tragedies sometimes occur. 
 
When a fatality occurs in a licensed child care or Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), DEL conducts a child fatality review in order to assess the department’s actions and the circumstances surrounding the death.Per the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 43.215.490, the purpose of such a review is “the development of recommendations to the department and legislature regarding changes in licensing requirements, practice, or policy to prevent fatalities and strengthen safety and health protections for children.”
 
Fatality Review Committee members
Members include individuals from outside the department with appropriate expertise, including but not limited to: experts with knowledge of early learning licensing requirements and program standards, a law enforcement office with investigative experience, a representative from a county or state health department, and a child advocate with expertise in child fatalities. The department also invites a parent or guardian for membership on the child fatality review committee who has had a child die in a child care setting. Finally, the department invites the parents or guardians whose child’s death is being reviewed to testify before the child fatality review committee.
 
Reports available online
After the Fatality Review Committee finalizes its recommendations in a report, it is issued and distributed to the appropriate committees of the legislature and the department. DEL posts the reports on this website. Please find the most up-to-date reports below:
 

Consumer Education

Parents are their children’s first and most important teacher and advocate. The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 requires states to “promote involvement by parents and family member in the development of their children in child care settings.” Some of the information related to health and safety in child care settings includes reporting about “aggregate information about the annual number of deaths, annual number of serious injuries as defined by the State/Territory and the annual number of incidences of substantiated child abuse in child care settings.”
 
“Serious injury” has been defined by Washington State DEL as any of the following:
 
  • Injury resulting in overnight hospital stay
  • Severe neck or head injury
  • Choking/unexpected breathing problems
  • Severe bleeding
  • Shock or acute confused state
  • Unconsciousness
  • Chemicals in eyes, on skin, or ingested in the mouth
  • Near-drowning
  • Broken bone
  • Severe burn requiring professional medical care
  • Poisoning
  • Medication overdose
“Substantiated child abuse” in Washington State could be physical or sexual abuse; it could also be neglect or maltreatment. Individuals receiving the founded finding may include family home licensees, their family members or assistants, as well as center employees.
 
Type of Occurrence in
Licensed Child Care
Number of Occurrences,
Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017
Deaths
0
Serious injuries
124
Substantiated child abuse incidents
74