Local News

The Day Care Truth: What You See is Probably What You Get

Posted July 10, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— When something goes wrong at a day care center, it hits parents hard. The challenge for day care parents is confirming safety, checking licensing, and knowing how to avoid problems.

Terrie Graves has been taking care of kids in her house for seven years. She's a registered day care provider in North Carolina. To register in our state you must be at least 18 years old and literate, pass a criminal background check, and take both a first aid and CPR class. Graves has gone so far as to get national accreditation for her business.

"I think parents just need to be educated no matter where their children are," Graves says. "I think they need to check up on where their child is and know what's going on."

That means a lot of legwork for parents before their child leaves home. For parent, Tim Evensen, it was well worth the effort. Evensen interviewed day care operators, inspected their homes, and talked to other parents who use the center.

The state also does its own investigating, inspecting homes before a business can open up. State representative, Peggy Balls says if a a complaint has been filed about a center, the state is also likely to make a surprise visit.

In addition, parents can check with the state to find out if a home day care business is registered or if there have been any complaints.

With the demand for day care growing every year, the number of day care centers is also growing. In selecting one parents need to look at basics beyond cost.

  • Health and safety are a first concern.
  • Check on licensing. It speaks to certain minimum standards having been met.
  • Ask about learning plans. What do the kids do all day and what are center workers doing to help children learn?
  • Trust your gut instincts.
  • Visit the center and watch what goes on. What you see will probably be what your child gets.