Our Approach

Are Child Care Rules Changing?

Posted October 6, 2014 in News

Although the legislative session has ended, policymaking has not. The N.C. Child Care Commission has completed its review of all child care rules and regulations as required by legislation passed in 2013, The Periodic Review and Expiration of Rules.

The Commission was required to classify each rule in one of three categories:

  • “Necessary with substantive public interest,” meaning that the rule has is needed and that: (a) the agency has received public comments on the rule within the past two years; or (b) the rule affects the property interest of the regulated public and the agency knows or suspects that someone may object to the rule; or
  • “Necessary without substantive public interest,” meaning that the rule is needed and that the agency has not received public comments on the rule within the past two years. This category includes rules that provide information that is readily available to the public, such as an address or telephone number; or
  • “Unnecessary,” meaning that the rule is obsolete, redundant or otherwise not needed.

Previously, most state rules remained in effect indefinitely, unless and until they were amended or repealed. Now every state agency is required to review all rules at least once every 10 years. Any rule that is not reviewed in that timeframe will automatically expire.

The Role of the Child Care Commission
The North Carolina Child Care Commission is charged with ensuring the health and safety of children in child care. It establishes the rules for the licensing and regulation of child care centers and homes in North Carolina, including the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).  North Carolina has been a national QRIS leader. When it launched in 1999, the state’s QRIS was the second in the nation. Click here for a list of the Commission’s responsibilities.

The Commission Recommendations
The Commission classified the vast majority of rules as necessary. However, only seven were classified as “necessary without substantive public interest.” Close to 100 were classified as “necessary with substantive public interest.” This designation indicates that the Child Care Commission has received or anticipates it may receive comments or objections to the majority of existing rules.

Fifteen child care rules were classified as unnecessary. They deal with a range of issues, including medically fragile children, requirements for one-star licensing and program capacity. Click here to see the list.

Take Action: Public Comment
The Commission’s recommendations are now open for public comment. Review the rules and submit comments to ensure the health and safety of children and optimal environments for children’s development and learning.  All rules are posted online. The deadline for comment is November 11, 2014.

Comments can be sent via email or mail.
Email: Dedra.Alston@dhhs.nc.gov
Mail:  Dedra Alston, Rule-making Coordinator Division of Child Development and Early Education
2201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-2201

When commenting on a rule, you need to specify the number and title of the rule. The Child Care Commission will not send individual responses to each commenter; however a response will be submitted to the Rules Review Commission with the final report as required.

Then What? 
Following the public comment period, the Child Care Commission will submit a report to the Rules Review Commission (RRC). The report must include the Commission’s initial determination, all public comments received and the Commission’s response to the public comments.

The RRC will review each of the Child Care Commission’s recommendations and make its own determinations. The RRC will then consult with the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee to finalize. Each final designation triggers specific actions. 

  • REMAIN IN EFFECT WITHOUT FURTHER ACTION: Rules with a final designation of “necessary without substantive public interest” AND for which no public comment was received OR the comment was determined to be without merit remain in effect without further action.
  • EXPIRE: Rules with a final designation of “unnecessary” AND for which no public comment was received OR the comment was determined to be without merit expire on the first day of the month following the date the report becomes effective.
  • READOPT: Rules with a final designation of “necessary with substantive public interest” must be readopted as though the rules were new rules.