Choosing Child Care Wisely - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Choosing Child Care Wisely

"At least you know that the people that are in the home on a regular basis we've done a criminal background check and an abuse and neglect, what we call central registry check," says Child Care Licenser Carol Herman "At least you know that the people that are in the home on a regular basis we've done a criminal background check and an abuse and neglect, what we call central registry check," says Child Care Licenser Carol Herman
"Go out to the day care, take a look around, talk to folks," says Child Protective Services Greg Cunningham "Go out to the day care, take a look around, talk to folks," says Child Protective Services Greg Cunningham

Nearly a million kids attend a licensed day care in Texas. While these facilities are regulated to ensure safety, officials say they worry about the countless children attending underground day cares.

Last year 18 children died while in the care of an unlicensed facility in Texas, something officials say could have been prevented if parents had asked the right questions.

The Department of Family and Protective Services says often parents don't realize how safe a regulated facility is compared to a unregulated day care.

"At least you know that the people that are in the home on a regular basis we've done a criminal background check and an abuse and neglect, what we call central registry check" Child Care Licenser Carol Herman says.

There are three steps protective services says each parent needs to take to ensure their kids are in good hands.The first being, check out day cares in the area. A rating of three is excellent, where as a rating of one means they have been cited for violations.

After finding a facility you like, check out their past.

"Look at their compliance history, see how they've done on inspections. It will actually list out if there have been violations, heres what it is and you can take a look and see is this something serious, is this something that concerns me," Child Protective Services Greg Cunningham says.

Once you've find a center that meets your standards, cunningham encourages parents to spend time there.

"Go out to the day care, take a look around, talk to folks. If you go out to a day care that doesn't want the parents coming in and asking questions, you know you might be a little bit weary about that one" Cunningham suggest.

He says these steps can help you make an educated decision about what is the best place for you and your kids.

You can check out facilities and get updates at www.txchildcaresearch.org.

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