Contact 2: Choosing A Daycare

Posted on: 9:58 pm, May 9, 2012, by

Fox Files Investigates: Daycare Dangers

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– Working parents can spend months searching for the “right” child care facility.  What should mom and dad be looking for? Well what’s right for one family may not work for another.  Parents have to research the options carefully.

Bouncing from one program to another is no fun.  Parents should try to  select the right location the first time around according to Robin Zellers, Chief of Community Engagement for Child Care Aware of Missouri.

“It can be very overwhelming and scary when you don`t know to what to look for or what kinds of questions to ask when you`re interviewing a provider.”

Child  Care Aware of Missouri helps families find quality child care through its extensive statewide database of available programs.  They’ve helped  fourteen hundred families over the past year in St. Louis city and St. Louis county and St. Charles county.   Zellers says if you’re looking at a licensed facility, state records are available to parents.   And Child Care Aware will help you understand what to look for.

“How have their inspections gone on health and sanitation and fire?  Do they do, regular fire drills and have emergency procedures in place?  Do they keep their food at a certain temperature like the health dept. requires them to do?  Has that program ever been under investigation for a complaint?”

Zellers says if there`s any truth to the complaint, parents will know it.  And of course you want background checks.  Parents can use the family care safety registry for that.

“That runs a background screening on folks taking care of children based on social security number. Our agency also encourages parents to check case.net and check the Missouri Highway Patrol sex offender registry.”

Parents should consider adult to child ratio, caregiver education and staff turnover.  Location and hours of operation are also important concerns for parents.

“They may call us and say they work a second shift and they may call and work extended hours on the weekend.  They may need something on a bus route.  They may need something that`s two miles within a zip code and we can get that specific when asking us for childcare.”

Parents must think about curriculum and the physical space.  You want to be sure that things are clean and sanitized and books are in good condition, and kids have access to lots of things they can play with.   If you’re looking at in home family run care be mindful state regulations are limited.

Child Care Aware offers options if your child has special needs or if you want child care in your home.  If you are a military family Child Care Aware can help you.  And finally check out the organization for help with state laws…things like what constitutes a licensed or unlicensed facility.  And what is a license exempt child care center.   Research is the only way to find the facility that will care for your child the way you do.

CHILD CARE AWARE OF MISSOURI

http://www.mo.childcareaware.org/

THE ILLINOIS COUNTERPART IS THE CHILDREN`S HOME AND AID CHILD CARE RESOURCE AND REFERRAL PROGRAM.

http://www.childrenshomeandaid.org/

THE MISSOURI HIGHWAY PATROL SEX OFFENDERS REGISTRY   http://www.mshp.dps.mo.gov/MSHPWeb/PatrolDivisions/CRID/SOR/SORPage.html

FAMILY CARE SAFETY REGISTRY

http://health.mo.gov/safety/childcare/index.php

PENDING LEGISLATION REGARDING CHILD CARE:  A HEARING IS EXPECTED IN A FEW DAYS.
SB 448    Modifies provisions relating to child care providers

Sponsor:    Rupp

LR Number:    4183L.06C    Fiscal Note available
Committee:    Health, Mental Health, Seniors and Families

Last Action:    5/10/2012 – Hearing Scheduled H Rules Pursuant Committee–(9:30 a.m. – HHR 6)    Journal Page:
Title:    HCS SS SCS SB 448    Calendar Position:
Effective Date:    August 28, 2012
House Handler:    Schoeller

Full Bill Text
|    All Actions
|    Available Summaries
|    Senate Home Page
|    List of 2012 Senate Bills

Current Bill Summary

HCS/SS/SCS/SB 448 – This act modifies provisions relating to child care providers and establishes “Sam Pratt’s Law”.
No child-care facility exempt from licensure shall assert to any parent or guardian of a child for which the facility provides care that the facility is licensed when in fact the facility is not licensed. SECTION 210.211
This act increases the penalty for violations of child care licensure provisions to include a fine of two hundred dollars per day, not to exceed a total of ten thousand dollars for subsequent offenses. SECTION 210.245
SAM PRATT’S LAW
This act provides that in any case involving abuse, neglect, or death of a child, any court of competent jurisdiction may impose as a condition of release of a defendant that such defendant be prohibited from providing child care services for compensation pending final disposition of the case.
Ths court shall notify the Department of Health and Senior Services and the Department of Social Services when it makes such a determination, as well as the disposition of the case. SECTION 544.456
The Sam Pratt’s Law provision is similar to HCS #2/HB 1323 (2012).
ADRIANE CROUSE

Sponsor:    Rupp

LR Number:    1778S.01I    Fiscal Note:
Committee:    Health, Mental Health, Seniors and Families

Last Action:    3/3/2011 – Second Read and Referred S Health, Mental Health, Seniors and Families Committee    Journal Page:     S391
Title:        Calendar Position:
Effective Date:    August 28, 2011

Full Bill Text
|    All Actions
|    Available Summaries
|    Senate Home Page
|    List of 2011 Senate Bills

Current Bill Summary

SB 339 – This act establishes “Sam Pratt’s Law” and “Nathan’s Law” and modifies provisions relating to child care providers.
SAM PRATT’S LAW
This act authorizes the Department of Health and Senior Services to investigate child care providers who are exempt from licensure if the department learns or is notified that such provider has pending criminal charges.
The department is also authorized to prohibit a licensure exempt child care provider from continuing to provide child care services if there are criminal charges pending against him or her that would similarly result in licensure actions for a licensed child care provider. Such licensure exempt provider shall be prohibited from continuing services pending a resolution of such criminal charges in favor of the provider.
Any licensure exempt child care provider who continues to provide child care services after notification by the department to stop such services shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor for the first violation and a Class A misdemeanor for any subsequent violation.
The department shall report any known violation to an appropriate prosecuting attorney’s office or law enforcement agency. SECTION 210.165
This provision is identical to HB 156 (2011).
NATHAN’S LAW
Under current law, a child care provider may be exempt from licensure if the person is caring for four or fewer children and children who are related to the provider are not considered in the total number of children being cared for. This act provides that such relative children shall be included in the total number of children being counted, except that children of such person who live in the home and attend school for a full school day shall not be included in the total number cared for. Any child-care facility exempt from licensure shall disclose the licensure-exempt status to the parents or guardians of children for which the facility provides care.
This act increases the penalty for violations of child care licensure provisions to include a fine of two hundred dollars per day, not to exceed a total of ten thousand dollars for subsequent offenses.
This act also authorizes the Department of Health and Senior Services to immediately close any illegally operating unlicensed child-care facility. The prosecuting attorney of the county where such illegal child-care facility is located may file suit for a permanent order preventing the operation of a child-care facility. The order shall remain in effect until such time as the court determines that the child-care facility is in compliance with all licensure requirements. Any person who operates an illegal unlicensed child-care facility shall be subject to penalties prescribed under the act. SECTIONS 210.209, 210.211, 210.245
These provisions are identical to HB 603 (2011).
ADRIANE CROUSE