When you put your children in daycare, you expect the providers to care for them in a safe and secure environment. Unfortunately, there’s a chance they will not meet your expectations—especially if you choose a childcare center or home without doing your research first.
An Indiana news station, 14 News, recently produced a special report on dangers at daycare. When they reviewed the annual inspection accounts for state childcare facilities, they found violations for everything from pests and mold to teacher-student ratios and employees without employment background checks.
The childcare inspectors the news station shadowed for the day emphasized the importance of checking the past inspection reports for any childcare facilities you may be considering. If an inspector cited the provider for violations in the past, you may want to move on to the next facility on your list, especially if it was for something serious like failing to include the child abuse registry in the employee background check.
Additionally, it’s important for parents to understand how laws apply to the various types of childcare available. While federal law requires that all states have policies in place to protect children in childcare programs, and 49 states plus the District of Columbia require background checks, not all facilities are required to comply and not all background checks are comprehensive.
- Childcare Centers – These provide childcare for a fee in a nonresidential setting. They are usually licensed; however, some states exempt certain kinds of centers from licensing requirements. Licensing regulations determine how many children can enroll, the location and policies that the provider must observe, including those pertaining to pre-employment screening.
- Family Childcare Homes – These provide childcare for children for a fee in a residential setting, usually the provider’s home. Most states require family childcare homes to be licensed. Some counties also require these providers to acquire registration or certification. As with childcare centers, regulations determine the number of children who can enroll as well as other policies. Depending on your state and county, these providers may not be required to conduct comprehensive background checks on other adult family members or adolescents living in the home.
- Exempt Childcare Facilities – Nursery schools and before and after school programs are exempt from childcare licensing requirements in some states.
- Unlicensed Registered Ministries – Operated by or affiliated with a church or religious organization, these childcare providers do not have to be licensed. They meet cleanliness, sanitation and food safety rules to achieve registration, but they may not conduct comprehensive background checks on their employees.