206 of 337 day care centres unlicensed – CCPA

Of 337 day care and playschool facilities found across the country, a mere 131 possess the required licences, leaving a whopping 206 of these institutions unlicensed.
This is according to the Child Care and Protection Agency’s (CCPA) Year-in-Review, posted on the Agency’s social media page.
According to statistics provided by the department, three day cares were found in Region One (Barima-Waini) with none of those being licensed or registered. Over in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), 18 facilities were found with all of those being registered and licensed. In Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), 48 playschools were found of which 33 were registered but only 20 were licensed. Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) had the highest number of playschools found which stood at 184, however 160 of those were registered and only 41 had the necessary licences. In Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), 15 day cares were found, 13 were registered while five possessed their licences. Regions Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Eight (Potaro Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) had three, one and another three day cares respectively; none of which were licensed or registered. However, in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) 28 playschools were found, 26 were registered while 19 were licensed.
According to a senior official at the CCPA, playschools and day cares can be registered but not licensed, as the licensing process is a lengthy one.
It was explained that for such entities to be licensed, they must undergo a series of inspections by the Public Health Ministry, the Guyana Fire Service, the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) and a number of other agencies. Along with this high number of paperwork also has to be sorted out before those businesses can be licensed.
According to the official, the CCPA arm of the Social Protection Ministry will be assisting those businesses in becoming fully compliant with the standards as required of them. The CCPA will be guiding those businesses along the way as they seek to have all the facilities licensed by the end of 2019.
When asked if the required licence would pose any major threat or issue if not possessed, the negative was given as a response. Guyana Times was told by the senior official if a child is injured at any of the unlicensed day cares, then the business owners will be held responsible.
“They would still be under our supervision so whether they licensed or not, if anything happens to the children they would have to take responsibility. They have to operate at the minimum standard, so it’s just the paperwork is the problem to get but they have to maintain the minimum standard,” the official stated.
The official added that the CCPA will continue to work with those businesses to achieve the target of 100 per cent licensing by the end of this year.
In September of last year, Executive Officer of Early Childhood Development, Lavern Thorne during an interview with Guyana Times said as a result of a number of interventions made over time, the CCPA has been able to up the standards of day-care facilities across the country, which were previously below standard.
Some of the works that were done to those centres include rehabilitation to the buildings, proper play spaces and materials, trained and qualified staff, among others.
Thorne disclosed, “Before we hadn’t met minimum standards that would regulate these facilities but now we have minimum standards that facilities are required to meet and based on that, they go through a process where they have to be registered and licensed”.
Although most of those day-cares are privately owned, Thorne noted how crucial it is for the CCPA to monitor these facilities.