Job Title: Child Care Licensing Field Specialist
Type of Company: I work for a state government organization.
Education: MA, Special Education, Wheelock College (Boston, MA)
Previous Experience: I started a program for children who were at risk for learning delays and served as a consultant to all child care programs in one Vermont county for 14 years. I was working at the time as a program coordinator at a non-profit agency where I headed up the programs to meet children's needs. I have worked at my current job for the past two years.
Job Tasks: I visit child care programs in one area of the state to make sure they are following basic health, safety and program requirements. I work with programs that are licensed, either registered homes, licensed homes, child care centers, school age programs or programs in non-recurring care such as ski areas. I conduct unannounced visits to see if programs comply with our basic requirements and talk with the people who run them about what I found, both positive and negative. I then file a report which is also sent to them.
Our main goal here is to work with the programs to make sure that kids are getting good care, and we do a lot to offer resources before imposing any sanctions or closing a program.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is setting up my schedule and planning my visits without a lot of supervisor direction. I have a fair amount of independence, although there is also accountability.
The worst part is working with programs that just don't seem to get it, and knowing that the kids are not getting good care, even though I can't verify enough to force a particular action to make them either get better or close.
Job Tips: Take courses in child development, working with adult learners. The more courses you take, the better because you really have to know a lot about child care. Get experience working in child care programs, usually at least 5 years.
Additional Thoughts: You have to be willing to work in sometimes challenging situations, especially with directors who are confrontational. Sometimes you see sad things like inappropriate discipline. You have to have a certain amount of confidence to tell people what they need to improve. You have to have good writing skills for reports. You have to have good people skills and understand what some of the challenges in child care are. Sometimes things are not black and white and you have to use good judgment.
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