The Division of Child Care and our partners are committed to providing resources to child care programs and families to assist in preventing suspension and expulsion of children.
It is important to understand the difference between suspension and expulsion in child care programs:
- Suspension: The temporary removal of a child from the assigned early childhood setting.
- Expulsion: The permanent dismissal of a child from the assigned early childhood setting.
Preventing Suspension and Expulsion
It may be hard to understand the reality that infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are suspended or expelled from child care programs due to their behavior. For families, this may bring about a wide range of emotions: fear, judgement, anxiety. Families may be asked to remove their child from a program for numerous reasons. The Division of Child Care and our partners are committed to:
- Helping families advocate for their children and understand the resources available.
- Assisting child care providers develop appropriate policies.
Suspending or expelling a child based upon what may seem like “behavior problems” is not a good solution. Children from birth to five years old are developing quickly. 90% of brain development happens before the age of 5. What may seem like a disruption, may be a normal response. For example, some programs have a strict “no biting” rule for toddlers. But this is a normal reaction (developmentally appropriate) for a toddler who is teething, frustrated, tired, hungry, or upset. Families should ask their child care program to explain what their policies are around discipline.
Programs who have strict discipline policies that include suspension and expulsion may be excluding children that have developmental delays (more information concerning developmental delays and milestones can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
). Simply removing a child keeps them from receiving the evaluations or referrals they need to obtain services.