16 June 2009



You are their only advocate when it comes to choosing childcare whether in a private home or a facility.

In my county (Genesee, MI) one-fifth of the more than 500 state-licensed child care providers have violated state standards in the last 5 years according to a Flint Journal investigation. There are only 10 consultants to cover more than 500 operating facilities. State mandates which are merely the minimum a care center should do to insure a safe, healthful environment are not being met.

All workers in MI facilities are required to have a back-ground check. What's being found, especially in home settings is there is someone in the house who is not registered with the state Department of Human Services (DHS). In one home setting the husband of the owner had not been cleared and had a record for larceny and assault as a teenager. A cook at another center had a record of child abuse.

Main areas of violations in child care setting included unsafe playgrounds, inattentive staff who lost track of children who wandered away, mishandled food, and dirty conditions.

Parents who have a child in child care have the right to drop in any time they want and see how the center in running; they have the right to ask to see the results of any staff member's background check and they have the right to see copies of inspection reports done by DHS and the local health and fire departments. Sadly, due to nationwide government budget cuts, there are going to be fewer inspections than there are now.

"Parents entrust child care providers with their children's lives every time they drop them off." Be sure to continually check after your child is enrolled as circumstances and new employees may change thereby changing the status or the environment of the facility.