Business

Lockhart Insurance Works with CCAL to Promote Child Safety

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By Beth Fussell

    Lockhart Insurance Agency, a Central business, has recently been named by CCAL as the preferred provider agency working with childcare centers statewide.  Juanita Lockhart, owner of Lockhart Insurance Agency, has been working in the insurance business for over 30 years.  Lockhart Insurance has been running successfully here for nearly 11.

    Lockhart Insurance is partnering with CCAL, the Central Childcare Association of Louisiana, to promote child safety in daycare environments.  Part of the job being performed by Lockhart Insurance and CCAL is to examine legislation that pertains to childcare to see how it affects the safety of the children involved.  For example, a bill has recently been introduced on the state level that would require all non-profit and church-based childcare services to be licensed and regulated by social services, just like for-profit daycares.  The idea behind this bill is that non-profit childcare services would then be held to specific standards and would therefore become more like a childcare center, where food and safety standards must be met and workers must be properly certified.

    Another aspect of the job performed by Lockhart Insurance and CCAL is lawsuit and loss prevention.  Daycare workers and owners are trained to avoid potentially dangerous or negative situations where a child or staff member could be put at risk.  Education is a major part of this process, as the knowledge of common mistakes helps owners and employees to keep from making them.  Often, a tragedy, injury, or lawsuit can be avoided by doing something simple, like checking off children’s names as they enter and exit a vehicle or building.

    Lockhart Insurance is currently the only insurance agency involved with this program.  Mrs. Lockhart has been working with Pat Crocker, President of CCAL, for many years to design and build a program that would ensure that children are being cared for correctly.  Providing the proper insurance coverage to these daycares is a big priority in that respect.  

    CCAL has set up an incentive program for daycares that rewards them for safety and professionalism.  CCAL inspects the childcare centers and gives each center a rating, much like a hotel would receive from a travel company.  Each daycare receives a certain number of stars that must be earned by meeting requirements on a checklist.  A higher number of stars can mean lower insurance costs for that childcare center, as it also amounts to a lesser chance of a lawsuit being filed or a child being put in danger if the daycare is consistently meeting safety requirements.  Parents can view a list of all childcare centers that are registered with CCAL along with the number of stars that the centers have received.  Access this list by visiting the CCAL website at www.childcarelouisiana.org.

    Both childcare institutions and individual childcare workers may join CCAL.  You can find a membership application online on the CCAL website, along with a list of the benefits of being a CCAL member.  Additionally, there are resources for parents on the same website, like an application for financial aid to help with the cost of daycare.

    As any parent or daycare worker would tell you, it is a difficult task to balance the goal of allowing children to have a fun educational experience with the primary concern of keeping them safe from harm.  However, it is very possible to do so if the rules are followed and the staff of the daycare is kept up to date on first aid and precautionary procedures.   Mrs. Lockhart has hopes that soon surrounding states will adopt this same program or one like it, as this seems to be a big step in the right direction toward keeping both children and daycare institutions safe from harm.

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