DSS rolls out new child care standards to fight childhood obesity

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Social Services will announce new standards for child care facilities statewide today in the effort to fight childhood obesity.

DSS officials say for years they've had a program for child care facilities called 'ABC Quality' which helps outline specific standards in child care. Now DSS has established new standards when it comes to how the same facilities address nutrition and physical activity through what's called 'ABC Grow Healthy.'

While the new standards are voluntary, DSS officials say the recommendations will be made to more than 1370 facilities that watch children ages 12 and younger. They say the standards will include things like not serving sugar-sweetened drinks and providing 90 to 120 minutes of daily outdoor play, weather permitting.

DSS officials say in addition to helping the facility, they hope the standards will help parents, too. "We're also wanting parents to know what to look for in their child care facility regarding nutrition," said Leigh Bolick, the Director of Child Care Services for DSS. "Do they post nutrition policies? How much outdoor activity do they have? So everything we do, we want parents to have all of the information at their disposal to make really good choices about their facility," said Bolick.

DSS officials say the new standards are less about cost and more about improving the way facilities use their resources to address nutrition or physical activity. However DSS says they will establish small grants that would help facilities best implement the new standards.

The announcement of the new standards was scheduled for 11 a.m. at La Petite Academy off of Clemson Road.

For more information on 'ABC Grow Healthy' visit http://scchildcare.org.

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