Log In

Reset Password

Government PR drive on Stars childcare programme

The childcare programme was launched in 2022 (Photograph supplied)

A public-relations campaign will be launched by the Department of Health to increase understanding of the Stars childcare regulation scheme, MPs heard yesterday.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, told the House of Assembly that the Standards for Rating of Service Providers system allowed daycare centres and providers to be recognised for meeting essential requirements or higher standards.

She added: “It is also another tool to empower families when selecting the right childcare placement for their child.”

The PR drive will come after parents of some children in childcare received a letter where nurseries and daycare centres raised concerns about challenges related to the Stars scheme.

Launched by the Ministry of Health in 2022, the programme uses an inspection tool to test for compliance with the Children Act 1998, the Day Care Centre Regulations 1999 and the Child Care Standards 2018.

Under the law, daycare centres and providers — who look after up to three children in their homes — must be licensed and registered to care for children.

Regulation officers from the health department assess the establishments on aspects such as health, safety, supervision, developmental activities, and parent and family engagement using a standard inspection form.

What is Stars?

Stars is a childcare assessment programme for daycare providers and daycare centres that was launched by the Ministry of Health in 2022.

The Stars values are:

• Striving for excellence

• Target a play-based approach

• Accountability to children, parents and each other

• Responsiveness to the individual needs of the child

• Safe and healthy environments

A childcare regulation programme brochure from the health department showed that under the Stars rating system:

• 1 star = under 59 per cent; the standard of the facility was unmet

• 2 stars = 60 to 69 per cent; the facility needed improvement

• 3 stars = 70 to 79 per cent; the facility was satisfactory

• 4 stars = 80 to 90 per cent; the facility was very good

• 5 stars = 90 to 100 per cent; the facility was excellent

Ms Wilson said that licensed daycare centres and providers were mandated to “maintain at least a 3 stars rating, which indicates the setting has met the minimum requirements by law”.

She explained: “Those with 4 and 5 stars ratings have exceeded the requirements by successfully implementing additional best-practice standards.”

Ms Wilson said that after an inspection, centres or providers may need to enhance the quality of care and conditions to meet minimum regulatory standards.

She told MPs that the childcare regulation team offered continuous guidance and support to help meet requirements.

A letter sent electronically this month to some parents who use childcare, signed “home care nurseries and daycare centres”, said the implementation of the Stars programme “presented a number of challenges for nurseries".

It added: “In short, many of the demands that are made on us have little to do with the quality of care that your child receives and as a result of this many nurseries are closing their doors because of unreasonable and unfair requests.”

They said that, as early-childhood professionals, “we are not against having standards and being inspected for accreditation”.

However, they noted: “What we are asking for is changes in how this occurs to avoid any more future closures.”

It was not known how many nurseries and daycare centres backed the letter, but the missive said that a meeting with parents was planned for this weekend.

In response to questions from The Royal Gazette about the concerns raised, a government spokeswoman said yesterday that recent closures of childcare centres were attributed to “serious safety and health violations rather than shortcomings in the Stars inspection process”.

She said the ministry had quarterly meetings with the sector and, in 2023, distributed a feedback survey to stakeholders.

The spokeswoman added that the move led to adjustments in the implementation of the programme.

She explained: “The childcare regulation team has improved communications to ensure better understanding of the inspection scoring criteria, outcomes and remedial actions.

“Following consultations, adjustments were made to the duration of annual inspections and a one-month notice period was introduced to enhance efficiency and stakeholder readiness.”

The spokeswoman said that to ensure fairness and accuracy, the annual inspections “now allow for re-evaluation before the publication of Stars ratings”.

She added: “Recognising the financial challenges faced by childcare providers, the CCR has facilitated import duty relief for materials and supplies utilised in childcare settings, easing operational burdens.”

The spokeswoman said the childcare unit “is dedicated to collaborating with care providers and parents to ensure quality childcare in Bermuda”.

To see the health minister’s statement in full, see Related Media

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published May 18, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated May 18, 2024 at 8:03 am)

Government PR drive on Stars childcare programme

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon