Top 10 warning signs of a bad day care facility.
While every parent hopes that their daycare of choice is the best one for their child, it can sometimes be difficult to judge the quality of a day care facility if you don’t know what to look for.
Our attorneys have extensive experience bringing claims against abusive day care centers, and over the years, we’ve taken note of various factors common to problem day care facilities. Some of these warning signs are obvious, but many are often overlooked or not considered by most parents. If you’re currently looking for quality childcare, we recommend taking note of the following warning signs commonly associated with bad day care centers.
1. The facility is not licensed.
When parents choose a licensed daycare, they receive assurance the facility provides an environment that is both safe and nurturing. Choosing a licensed provider means the facility is insured, regulated, and inspected on a regular basis. Each state sets minimum requirements for day care providers, and they must post their license where people can easily see it.
Always ask to see the facilities current license, and double check this coverage with your state’s childcare regulatory agency. In Texas, for instance, you can perform a free search online via the DFPS website, which also shows information on inspections, assessments, reported incidents, and deficiencies over the past two years.
2. High turnover of employees.
Day care facilities that do not treat their employees well simply won’t be able to maintain the level of consistency children need. Children tend to become attached to their caregivers and look forward to seeing the same ones daily. Ask the facility about their staff turnover rates, and inquire about how long each teacher has been with the company.
3. The provider or facility has received numerous complaints.
Do your homework and choose a daycare that other parents highly praise. If you’re considering a particular daycare facility, visit in-person and ask other parents about their experience. Online reviews can be helpful, but generally tend to represent only those with the strongest opinions (extreme praise or extreme criticism). If you see a pattern of the same concerns/issues, do not be afraid to bring it up directly with the director of the day care.
4. The provider is frequently over the allowable staff-child ratio.
There are regulations with which day cares must comply concerning the maximum number of children that one teacher is allowed to supervise. The purpose of this regulation is to ensure that every child receives necessary care and attention. A daycare that exceeds the limits set by the state puts children at risk. The best way to determine if this is occurring is to drop in for an unexpected visit.
To learn your state’s child/caregiver ratios, visit your state’s childcare regulatory agency website. In Texas, minimum standards for child-care centers are available here.
5. Underqualified staff.
Clearly, it is essential for the staff and teachers in a daycare to be fully qualified. You also want to make sure all employees have passed a criminal background check and are currently certified in CPR, first aid, and other training as mandated by state law. Do not be afraid to ask how often the daycare offers employee training, what it involves, and whether they require additional training on an annual basis.
6. Lack of a clear curriculum.
It is important for the day care curriculum to be clearly visible for parents. Children need an age appropriate curriculum that includes stimulating activities. Knowing this information will help give you a clearer picture of what to expect, and can help you better-compare the activities of two or more daycare centers.
7. A lack of cleanliness.
While you should expect some disorder due to the activities of children, mealtimes, and various projects, if the daycare is dirty, it’s time to move on. A disorganized or unsanitary facility certainly doesn’t bode well for child safety, and if the day care doesn’t put in the effort to provide a clean facility, they are simply putting children at risk of contracting illness or infection.
8. You have concerns about safety.
Make sure the daycare you choose is safe in every way, including: the facility itself, toys and equipment, and the use of smoke detectors. It is also essential for the staff to have access to emergency equipment and a disaster plan. Also make certain they properly store poisons and provide sufficient security (for instance, ensuring children only go home with authorized people).
9. Beware of employees with an attitude.
While everyone can have an occasional bad day, daycare staff must be able to control their temperament at ALL times. If a daycare worker is combative, aggressive, or easily irritated, she shouldn’t be working in childcare. If you experience a negative attitude with a staff member, take this as a huge warning sign and STAY AWAY.
With all the stories in the news about children abused at daycare, there is simply no reason to allow this kind of person to care for your children. Even if this attitude never manifests as physical abuse, the emotional effect that this behavior can have on a child can be harmful and debilitating.
10. Failure to open lines of communication.
The day care should provide parents with daily reports and communicate on a regular basis. There should be positive feedback as well as reports of discipline issues related to an individual child. A good daycare will be more than willing to provide any information a parent requests.
In addition to being on the lookout for the above signs, you have one other factor to consider: your gut feeling. When you have a bad feeling about something, you may want to reconsider your choice of day care. Follow your instincts and choose the daycare that makes you feel that your child will be safe and well-cared for.
Speak With Our Daycare Child Abuse Attorneys For Free
The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at 1-877-405-4313.