Working as a Child Care Licensing Specialist
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services' (DHS) Child Care Services (CCS) has the responsibility of making sure Oklahoma's children and their parents have access to licensed, affordable, high-quality child care where children have the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential in a safe, healthy and nurturing environment.
Here’s what some child care licensing specialists say about their work days:
“The day includes going out to child care facilities: child care homes, child care centers, and school-age programs. We go to these facilities and monitor the program’s compliance with requirements, then come back to the office to put all the information we received into the computer and file original documents into case files. Visits usually have to be done at a certain time (mornings, lunch time, afternoons, and some times evenings). Some days I stay out in the field all day going from child care to child care, other days I stay in and work completely on office work, some days I do both. In addition to doing periodic visits, we also investigate complaints by interviewing witnesses and viewing paperwork. It can get very overwhelming very quickly and workloads can pile up, which makes it stressful. The supervisors and other workers are always available to help- you are not alone when it comes to getting work done or completing visits or complaints.” - N.D., child care licensing specialist III, bachelor’s degree, creative studies.
“There’s good and bad in everything – but less bad in licensing. Every day is different; there are numerous situations - no two are the same. Any intentional injury or harm to child would be the worst. Putting yourself out there to help keep any child safe would be essentially fulfilling. It’s a fast paced job of busy work – it’s not all stress. Licensing individuals in the division are great – everyone is approachable, supportive and always willing to assist.” - S.W., child care licensing specialist II, bachelor’s degree, mass communications.
“A typical day in licensing is monitoring the child care facilities in my county, making sure the Licensing Law is being followed through the licensing requirements. It also includes providing consulting information to the caregivers to help them understand the children in their care. Some days can be very hectic with complaints, visits, phone calls, trips to the court house, police station and other days you get to visit quality child care facilities and see the love, support and encouragement caregivers are providing to our children.” - S.G., child care licensing specialist III, master's degree, human development and family services with an emphasis in early childhood education.
What Makes for a successful Child Care Licensing Specialist?
“You need to be a person that gets along well with others. But you also need the ability to speak with authority when needed. You need the ability to write down information thoroughly and accurately, and sometimes you need the ability to wade through months and months of dates to determine if a center was understaffed or not. You need the ability to admit it when you are wrong, but to stick by your guns when you are right. You need the ability to not say “I told you so” when a provider does something that you warned them would be a problem, and it turns out just like you said. You need to be honest and fair and objective. You need to care a lot about children and protecting them from harm. You need compassion when something bad happens.” - D.P., child care licensing specialist II, master's degree, early childhood education.
“To be an effective licensing specialist you need to have good listening, communication and writing skills. You need to be assertive and understanding at the same time. A licensing worker needs to be able to gather information and process it to make sure the health and safety of children needs are being met at all times. A licensing specialist must have good understanding of child development to be able to help caregivers provide the right social, emotional, cognitive and physical skills to nurture children in their growth.” - S.G., child care licensing specialist III, master's degree, human development and family services with an emphasis in early childhood education.
"A successful child care licensing specialist must be organized and have excellent time management skills. They should be self motivated and flexible enough to adapt to changing priorities. They also need to be able to communicate effectively with child care providers, both verbally and in writing." - D.C., child care licensing specialist IV, bachelor's degree, family relations and child development.
Skills needed also include:
- Good organizational skills;
- Time management skills;
- Ability to work cooperatively with child care providers and co-workers
- Bachelor’s degree; and
- Basic computer skills.
Child care licensing specialists list the advantages of working for DHS' Oklahoma Child Care Services?
"When you do go to a facility that is all about the children, meeting their needs and ensuring their health and safety, it is an awesome day and you see a lot of happy, happy children and confident, happy staff." - C.A., child care licensing specialist II, bachelor’s degree, psychology.
"This spring, I came toCCS because my wonderful case worker for my child care home encouraged me to apply. She explained I could help children and still have a balanced lifestyle while enjoying the benefits of being a state employee." - A.M., child care licensing specialist II, master’s degree, human development and family sciences.
How to apply:
Visit the Office of Management and Enterprise Services' Human Capital Management Division Web site at http://www.ok.gov/opm and click on OKCareers to view current job announcements for specific locations. Complete the application online. Applicants will be notified by e-mail of the deadline for completing the required merit test to be eligible for consideration.