Are your child's home daycare operators getting the training that they need to make certain that your child is safe? If you live in South Carolina, they may not be -- and if you live in another state, the chances are just as likely that your daycare operator isn't compliant with the law. Here's what you should know.
Home Daycare Providers Training Is A State-Mandated Issue
There aren't any national regulations that determine exactly what education and training a home daycare operator has to have before he or she can set up shop -- each state has its own regulations.
However, the need for more daycare services than there are currently available makes it easy for someone to open a business without the required training and skate under the rules. Parents, desperate for someone to watch their child while they work, will flock to home daycares because they're often more flexible and less expensive than formal daycare settings. For a parent working odd hours, split shifts, or who is just unable to pick their child up by 6 every evening, a good home daycare can be a lifesaver.
Investigations In Many States Show That Enforcement Is Lax
Unfortunately, even minimal state standards are often not enforced. For example, a recent investigation in South Carolina determined just about 25% of the home daycares were compliant with the very minimal required yearly training -- which is only two hours. The training requirement, called Kendra's Law after an infant who suffered permanent brain injuries after being shaken by a home daycare worker, has only been in effect since 2010. Prior to that time, the state had no required training.
South Carolina is hardly unique when it comes to being lax about enforcing the rules on home daycares. A 2016 investigation into Maryland's daycare workers found that state-required criminal background checks were often skipped or the results went missing. Connecticut was even worse -- ranked 48th in state oversight in 2013, the state had only 1 inspector for every 217 daycare centers.
The problems are hardly new. A nationwide survey of daycare workers came to the same conclusion as far back in 2007.
You Can Take Steps To Protect Your Child
The best thing parents can do is check into local state laws to see what is required and ask questions before hiring a daycare for their child. Your daycare provider shouldn't hesitate to provide necessary documentation.
In addition, make sure that you look around the home daycare to see if it meets what your common-sense dictates are basic safety requirements. Is the home generally clean? Are pets kept away from the children? Is the kitchen clean? Are baby gates and child safety locks in place? Spend some time observing the daycare provider and any helpers in action. Do the children seem generally content? Is the provider generally calm about spills, upsets, and crying? If you don't like what you see, don't leave your child there.
If your child is injured in a home daycare setting, you may have recourse against both the daycare worker and the state agency that licensed or approved his or her operation. Discuss the issue with an attorney, like Gomez May LLP, for more information.