Local News

Advice For Choosing Child Care Providers

Posted January 3, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— Choosing a babysitter or family friend to watch your child and keep them safe can be a difficult decision, and it's a critical decision.

A new study says 83 percent of children killed in 1995 were murdered by males known to the family.

The mother of Khalea Wall entrusted a family friend to watch her daughter while she was at work. It was a deadly decision.

Police say Jimmy Baldwin killed little Khalea Wall while in his care.

So how can you make sure you made the right choice?

The choice can actually be a lot easier if you're picking a daycare.

You can look for a license and check for any complaints to help you make your decision. But choosing a babysitter can be more difficult.

There are no firm guidelines to follow. But experts do have some good advice.

Child care experts say entrusting your child to a babysitter should be taken very seriously, even when you are desperate for a sitter.

Jean Sinclair-Johnson is the director of Child Care Solutions. The program is a childcare resource and referral service.

"When you go out and shop for a car, you don't pick out the first thing, because you need it right away. You'll examine it, ask questions, test drive it, and the same thing goes when you deal with little ones," said Sinclair-Johnson.

Sinclair-Johnson says you should check a babysitter's references and, if possible, do a background check.

But the reality is that parents may not always make the right choice.

Dr. Howard Loughlin, who examines children where abuse is suspected, suggests parents always stay alert. You should look for injuries on your kids around bath time and do not ignore unusual behavior.

"If things don't seem quite right, the parents needs to go by their intuition. You may not have proof. Listen to your gut. If you are concerned, it needs to be investigated," said Loughlin.

If you would like to be referred to a child care provider or to drop-in care facilities in Cumberland County, you can call Child Care Solutions at910-860-2277.

If money is preventing you from providing quality child care for your kids, Child Care Solutions also offers subsidies.