On August 21st an Executive Order was issued for the state of Indiana. The order sought to increase child care options for parents with preK- Grade 12 school-aged children participating in remote or e-learning. The order suspended relevant provisions of Indiana code, to permit in-person supervision at a physical location for remote or e-learning for no more than 10 children (children includes ages 4 and up). The physical location would be a residential structure, allowing care only on school days during school hours.
The following are questions from the Early Learning Alliance Network related to that Executive Order. The italicized text provides the response from the Indiana Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning.
- Because the order specifies child care settings not currently licensed, what are the expectations/restrictions for currently licensed programs to provide this type of care? One main objective for the Executive Order is to allow flexibility for families who wish to congregate together specifically for E-learning, not to expand existing licensed child care home businesses. Programs that are currently licensed would not be able to provide care under the Executive Order unless they wish to enter into an agreement with a school corporation for its latch key program.
- To clarify, there is no expectation for background check, basic first aid, or insurance at the residential location where ten or more children can be provided care (for pay)? When programs are exempt from licensure they are not required to follow rules outlined in state or federal statutes and thus OECOSL cannot enforce expectations around background checks or other regulatory rules. OECOSL does highly encourage families to select caregivers that are appropriately screened and qualified to work with children.
- What is the date of expiration for the order? The Order expires at the end of the state public health emergency or if amended or replaced by a future EO.
- Does the exemption from licensure apply to children who have been withdrawn from public school and are enrolled in either a home school program or virtual only charter school? The executive order only outlines what type of environment is exempt from licensure, the age of children that can participate and that the children participating are engaging in E-Learning. This would not apply to children who have withdrawn from a traditional educational environment.
- Are K12 schools collecting any data from families as to the location of their children during remote or e-learning? That question would be better suited for the Indiana Department of Education.
- To clarify, can a licensed (non-home based) center be exempt from licensing expectations if they choose to operate a remote learning care center in a private home with pay coming to the center? (i.e., if a center sends a staff member to a private home, can the center be paid for offsite care under the order?) If a provider is currently licensed they do not fall under the Executive Order.
- To clarify, care can be provided by any individual regardless of age or background in a home with up to ten children under the order? Also, if an individual has had an in home center that has been closed down by the state for issues related to safety, staffing, etc. can they reopen for the ages and purposes under this order? The intent of this portion of the Executive Order is to allow families who have chosen to come together to form a learning collaborative to support the needs of their school age children to meet their E-learning needs. Families would be encouraged to identify individuals who are qualified to meet the unique needs of their children and can provide the educational support that parents have identified as necessary. In order to meet the exemption, supervision would have to be provided for the purposes of supporting the student’s E-Learning needs and if a program had opened for some other purposes they would not meet the Executive Order.
- If neighbors are concerned about the safety of children participating in the programming allowed by the order, who do they call with concerns? Any time that community members have concerns about the safety of children they should report those to the Department of Children’s Services. Reports can be made at 1- 800-800-5556. If a community member has a concern that an environment is operating outside of the parameters in the Executive Order they can contact our office at 877-511-1144.