California Day Camps Are Not Licensed.
Day care centers require licensing. Day camps—with pools, lakes, rock climbing walls, archery, demanding hikes, horseback riding, zip lines, highly physical games—do not require licensing or oversight.
For nearly two decades, attempts to regulate day camps have failed. That is because county health departments do not want to tackle the work, and counties and the state refuse to allocate funding for measures that would prevent children from injury or even death. In fact, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown vetoed camp AND pool safety legislation.
Roxie drowned at Summerkids camp—a camp without a license, without oversight, even without accreditation—something they chose to ignore. Ultimately, Summerkids camp and similar day camps can literally get away with killing a child.
Opposition to Licensing Day Camps
These health and safety organizations refuse to do the work that keeps children safe. Click on the links and read their opposition statements.
Failed Legislative Efforts
2008: CA Department of Health Services issues notice of proposed rule-making to update Organize Camp Regulations which coincided with an update of the American Camp Association’s Accreditation Standards. California Collaboration for Youth wanted to define Organized Day Camps in the regulations but counsel determined that a statutory change must be made. So the definition effort was abandoned.
1997, AB-153: Introduced on behalf of the organized camp community, it intended to 1.) define Organized Day Camps; 2.) address discriminatory and arbitrary fees which were being charged to organized camps for use of public land, public beaches and public recreation areas; and 3.) clarify that ttransportation provided by organized camps qualified to be registered as “Private Carriers” rather than Charter-Party Carriers. Objectives 2 and 3 were achieved but objective 1 was defeated by health departments.
1988, SB-1618: Deleted the Department of Social Services’ discretionary exemption authority over exempted organized camps prompting the Department of Environmental Health to start examining the difference between organized camps generally, organized day camps specifically, and day care centers.