For close to the past four years, Claudia Ramos has been serving the residents of Harvey County as the Child Care Licensing Coordinator.

Ramos described her job as “to provide outreach and education to new home and facility-based day care providers or pre-school or school-age facilities in Harvey County.”

Ramos oversees inspections of day care and pre-school facilities in the county. She also handles any complaints receiver by her office or those that come in from the Kansas Department of Health and Enviornment.

The Child Care Licensing Department comes under the Harvey County Health Department. Her department interacts with the Kansas Department for Children and Family as well as local police and law enforcement.

“I also answer any questions from local child care providers and provide information about regulations,” Ramos said. “I also try to inform them informational programs that are in person or on line.”

In Kansas, a license is required to operate a day-care facility for more than two, non-related children for more than 20 hours in a week.

There are several categories of day car facilities, depending on whether the facility is operated out of a private home or a business location.

Background checks, CPR certification and some child-care training also is required.

A new facility is required to be inspected before it can operate. Facilities are required to be inspected annually. These inspections are unannounced.

Certain facilities, such as recreation centers, are exempt as long as the parents remain on site.

Ramos said there are five day care facilities in Harvey County, as well as seven pre-schools. She wasn’t sure the exact number of home-based facilities in the county, but estimated the number to be between about 60 and 70.

“Probably the number one thing I get from this job is knowing I play a part in protecting the health and safety of children when they are not with their families. That’s the purpose of the role. I enjoy seeing the children.”

Ramos said the position requires the ability to make good judgement.

“You want to make sure everything in the facility is in compliance,” Ramos said. “You also want to be supportive of them and help them so they can stay in compliance.”