The crèche and day care service industry in Maharashtra will soon be regulated. Incidents of child abuse, reported and unreported, have prompted the government to bring in the regularisation.
Once the new guidelines are approved, each crèche and day care service will have to be registered with the Women and Child Development (WCD) department.
While, applications for new centres will be processed in 30 working days, existing centres will have to go through an inspection and carry out suggested improvements in the first six months after the regulation is passed, to get registered.
An ‘Early Childhood Care and Education’ (ECCE) cell will also be formed under the women’s commission. It will ensure that there is a uniform policy under which all centres will function and report. It will also provide consultancy to pre-school and day care managers.
The ECCE cell will conduct and oversee various aspects such as monitoring of crèches and day care centres, standards of care, staff training, and protection of children against abuse and neglect. While training for the staff has been recommended, certain responsibilities have been fixed on the parents too.
According to the guidelines, the mechanism will flow from the state to the district level, wherein the WCD Commissioner will be the competent authority for delegation.
The guidelines were prepared in collaboration with the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MPCPCR), UNICEF, and other experts from academic institutions.