Signs Of An Unsafe Day Care: What Families Should Consider

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) shut down a day care center after one child put another child in a clothes dryer while under the day care owner's supervision, and the owner failed to tell the child's parents.

According to LARA, the owner took the child to the hospital because she was "stressed out" about the incident, but she never told the child's parents or reported the incident to LARA.

The child who was put in the dryer told her mother that it was "hot, and it was dark and hurt my back."

LARA said the day care owner lied about the incident during the investigation.

LARA determined that the owner violated the Child Care Organizations Act. LARA revoked her license in November. She is prohibited from operating a day care center. LARA also instructed the woman to inform the parents of children in her care that her license had been suspended.

Violations included lack of proper care and supervision, household member's suitability and conduciveness to the welfare of children, and failure to provide truthful and accurate information to the department during an investigation. Emma Stein "Day care forced to close after child puts another youngster in dryer and turns it on" www.freep.com (Nov. 16, 2021).

Commentary and Checklist

Families will want to use due diligence when selecting daycares and childcare staff to protect their child from harm.

Before entrusting care of your child to a new organization, conduct an information meeting with the director and tour the facility. Ask if all staff and volunteers are trained on safety policies and procedures and how they inform children of the organization’s safety policies.

Ask to see policies regarding background checks for all employees and volunteers. Perform your own background check on the organization.

Contact other families who have worked with the organization or the individual and ask about their child’s experience.

After the individual or organization begins caring for your child, periodically drop-in unannounced to make sure that everything is running as promised and all safety policies are being followed.

Facilities that allow parents to view how their children are treated online via webcam are a better choice than facilities without cameras and that do not permit parents to check in on their children unannounced.

Avoid childcare organizations that show signs of being unsafe. An unsafe environment:

  • Is not inspected and licensed
  • Is dirty and not well-maintained
  • Has no protective fencing or other barriers
  • Has high employee turnover
  • Does not train employees on child safety and child sexual abusee prevention
  • Does not perform background checks
  • Has complaints made against them
  • Does not observe safe caregiver-child ratios
  • Employs unqualified staff
  • Has no set daily curriculum
  • Discourages unscheduled visits
  • Has no open lines of communication
  • Does not allow unannounced visits by parents
  • Has no security policies and practices in place to make sure only those adults who are authorized to pick up children are allowed to do so
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