Local News

Alleged Day Care Child Abuse Sparks Questions

Posted September 14, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Tuesday, the owner of a Johnston County day care was charged with one count of felony child abuse. Police say Lisa Allen allegedly abused a 5-month-old girl in her home day care.

The girl is now in rehabilitation, and the day care has been shut down.

Wednesday, parents questioned their own child care arrangements, and wondered what they could do to prevent the possible abuse of their children.

Experts say parents can never ask enough questions, or make enough observations. They say it is not just what questions to ask, but how to ask them. Experts suggest several things that parents should consider when choosing a day care:

  • Ask for references
  • Look for cleanliness
  • What ages are grouped together
  • What safety measures have they taken, such as fire extinguishers and safety plugs
  • Are they a registered caregiver
  • Ask open ended questions, instead of yes and no questions. Such as 'Explain to me your discipline policy,' or 'Explain to me why you went into child care to begin with.'
  • Observe how the children are being treated
  • Watch how the teachers talk to the children - do they sit down and talk soft and nice to them.

    Aisha Carter lived through the fear all parents have when she put her son in child care.

    "I thought somebody was messing with him, so I took him out of the day care," Carter said.

    Betty Barnwell runs a day care program inside her home. She says too many parents do a poor job of picking a provider.

    "It saddens me to see either they just haven't taken the time, or perhaps maybe our providers aren't encouraging them to do as much investigating as they should," Barnwell said.

    Just finding a set of caregivers to choose from can be especially hard if families are new to a community, or if they are first time parents. There are referral services around the Triangle that have access to hundreds of registered caregivers.

    Parents can call1-800-CHOOSE-1to find out which agency is in their area.