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Jan 22, 2009

5 Ways to Investigate a Daycare Provider

Are you a parent who is suspicious of your daycare provider? Do you suspect they may not be the perfect fit for your child? If so, you will want to find out about them. You can easily do your own personal investigation. As for how, continue reading on for five easy approaches.

Before highlighting five ways you can find out about and investigate a daycare provider, it is important to consider abuse or mistreatment. If you wish your daycare provider did more, such as educate your child, it is fine to start an investigation. However, if you suspect abuse or neglect, it is time to act now. You may want to pull your child from care.

So, how can you investigate a daycare provider?

1 – Show Up Unannounced

When choosing a daycare provider, multiple appointments are setup. These appointments are so parents can meet the provider and see their operation at work. As a parent, you always need to remember that these appointments are scheduled. Daycare providers prepare for them. For that reason, what you see at an appointment or a daycare viewing may not necessarily be daily activities. That is why you should show up unannounced.

Do you pick your child up from daycare at 4:30 every afternoon? Opt for an early pickup at 3:30. Don’t expect your child to be ready to leave, but look at the surroundings. Where was the daycare provider, where were the kids, what was everyone doing?

2 – Talk to Other Parents

Daycare providers, even those who provide care in-home, are business owners. For that reason, you want to avoid starting rumors or spreading lies. When discussing the provider with other parents, take the roundabout approach. Ask other parents how their children like the provider, what their favorite daily activities are, and so forth. This gets the conversation started. Most times, if the other parent has a complaint this is when they will voice it to you.

3 – Talk to Neighbors

Many people are surprised to hear how much their neighbors know about them, so use this to your advantage. Do you see a neighbor outside of their home when picking up your child? If so, start a friendly conversation. If you suspect abuse or neglect, outright ask the neighbor, but do so in a tactful way. Ask whether they see anything out of the ordinary or if there are any concerns they have.

Approaching neighbors is best when you are a new client of a daycare provider. Your questions will not seem nosy or out of place. After all, even daycare providers expect parents to want the best for their children.

4 – Perform a Background Check

A background check can give you insight into a daycare provider. Extensive background checks provide information on previous places of employment, former addresses, and criminal records. If you have suspicions about your child’s daycare provider, perform a background check on them or anyone else in the household. This will cost money, but it is a wise investment to protect your child.

Background checks can be performed on daycare providers at anytime, but it is best to opt for one before becoming a client. The best way to prevent daycare abuse and neglect is to choose a provider wisely.

5 – Contact State or County Officials

Most states have strict laws for daycare centers, including in-home care. For example, in some states it is illegal to operate a daycare with more than 5 children without being licensed by the state. Since most daycare centers, including in-home centers, are licensed, why not turn to them for help?

If your daycare provider is a licensed provider, contact state or local officials. In most states, you need to contact the Department or Office of Child and Family Services. It is here where you can voice a complaint or research a provider. Violations and abuse complaints against licensed daycare providers should be public knowledge.

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