New rules proposed by the Colorado Department of Human Services include a requirement that all day-care centers in the state make available dolls representing three different races.
The 98-page document, obtained by 7News, features a slew of rule changes. Among them: children over age two must not be served whole milk without a note from a doctor, kids over age one can't drink more than six ounces of juice per day, TV and computer time will be capped at twenty minutes daily, and staffers must wear clothes that cover their lap and shoulders. But arguably the most unusual suggestion pops up on page 77: "Dolls shall represent three (3) races."
After posting this item, we were able to reach Human Services spokeswoman Liz McDonough, who provides background on the project as a whole.
"These are national child care standards that we are proposing," she says. "They come from national standards that are entitled 'Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale.' They're minimum standards for quality in childcare -- and the process was actually started by statute back in 2000. We initially made changes in the educational levels and training required for childcare workers and redid all of our family childcare home rules back in 2004 -- and we began the rule-writing process for family childcare centers in 2006."
Five years later, the department finally finished drafting the rules, and in early May began a 55-community tour in order to get feedback from day-care providers statewide about the suggested changes. Once that's completed, early in October, the department will pull together feedback from the tour, as well as from members of the public weighing in online and via a special phone line, and provide it to a working group that will come up with a second draft. Then, over the next several months, the set of rules that result will be given to the State Board of Human Services for more public comment before final approval.
Nothing is likely to be finalized prior to mid-2012. "This is a lengthy, thoughtful, deliberate process," McDonough stresses.
What about feedback about the dolls suggestion? McDonough couldn't initially find any, but she's promised to look. When and if she comes up with something, we'll share it here.
Note: The draft rules can also be accessed by clicking here.