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The Staff Of A Licensed Day Care Center Is Not There To Babysit

10.24.2011 · Posted in Family Articles

No job comes with a responsibility quite as serious as those who are entrusted with the nurture, education and safety of\ other people’s children. A really good day center provides all this plus individual attention and age-appropriate academic programs, not to mention an introduction to social skills as well. Clearly this job is not for wimps. We parents teach, care for and love our children and know how difficult it can be to make sure we don’t do something dumb and lead them astray. How would you like to do this for a classroom of twenty or so kids that you don’t even know yet?rnrnChild day care centers are licensed and carefully monitored in most states. Human Services and Child Welfare agencies are tasked with the licensing and monitoring responsibilities of these centers. Licensed centers must employ staffs who meet minimum educational standards, often equivalent to the requirements of teacher in our public schools. Many who can be observed sitting on the floor surrounded by a herd of restless two-year-olds carry a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Infants are in the care of specialists in educational techniques geared specifically to their age group.rnrnIn addition to highly educated staff, there is also likely to be a contingent of younger workers who may often seem not much older than their young charges. Daycare is a vocation which seems to attract young women and many of them take college classes part time while spending the rest of the day utilizing the skills they are learning. Young children seem to enjoy these student-teachers, as they have the youth and energy to play along with them. Gross motor skills are allowed to develop in the company of staff who run and jump and dance right along with the kids!rnrnLicensing regulations in most states also require thorough background checks of prospective day care center staff. They are looking particularly for any criminal records involving violence or child endangerment. The licensing agency may also scrutinize state police records or may even require fingerprinting for FBI review. Volunteers must also undergo rigorous background checks so parents can be assured that the gentle grandma rocking their kids to sleep is who she appears to be and not some ogre out of the Brothers Grimm. She too has been cleared by law enforcement and child welfare authorities the same as the paid staff.rnrnThe sage parent will also expend the time and energy to closely investigate the centers they are considering for their child’s placement. This would include a thorough interview of the director of the center and many pertinent questions of him about his staff of teachers, administrators and volunteers. The parents should drop into the classroom unannounced to check out what goes on there every day. This will give them a clue about how their child may fit into the surroundings. The staff in the classroom should also be interviewed.rnrnMost state Child Welfare agencies have information available to the general public much like the Better Business Bureau for businesses. Many have a hotline that can be accessed to determine whether there have been complaints against a particular daycare center, and the center’s individual licensing agent should be able to answer questions regarding the center’s operations. The center’s director should be able to direct a parent to a person within the licensing agency that can help them.rnrnAssuming the responsibility for caring for someone else’s children is not to be taken lightly. The vast majority of licensed daycare centers understand this, and put forth the necessary efforts to maintain educated and ethical employees. Being able to receive and verify information regarding the people that will have this responsibility makes a parent’s decision to place their child in licensed daycare much less frightening and more comforting for everyone involved.

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