I-Team: How To Choose a Safe and Secure Daycare Center
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Research, research, research. That’s the recommendation from daycare providers and state officials when asked how parents should choose a daycare center for their children.
In Lansing, Mark Jansen directs the state’s Childcare Licensing Division. Jansen has seen a lot of violations but recently he’s noticed a trend.
“What seems to be common is a small child leaves the facility and is out roaming around within a yard or two (neighborhood) yards,” says Jansen.
That’s why Courtney Paggeot makes it her staff’s mission to know where every kid at Little Daffodils Daycare is at all times. Paggeot’s facility also has a pin pad entryway and a fingerprinting system.
“It’s not over ambitious because you want the kids to be safe, to know that they're not getting out,” says Paggeot.
Safety and security at daycares are top priorities for Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Agency. That’s why licensed daycare providers must go through tough screenings every two years.
“It’s pretty rigorous. When they come through bi-annually, she's actually usually here for the better part of the day,” says Paggeot, referring to state daycare inspectors. “She looks through all of the classrooms, she sits in for a good period of time making sure the staff is doing what they're supposed to do."
“Our job is to make sure people are following the law and the rules that go along with it,” says Jansen who recommends parents follow four rules when picking a daycare. Those rules include 1) Making sure the daycare provider is licensed by the state 2) Visiting the daycare provider 3)Asking for a daycare providers licensing notebook 4)Asking for references for the daycare provider.
When the Newschannel 3 I-Team visited Little Daffodils Daycare, Paggeot provided the I-team with the facility’s licensing book which shows all interactions with the state. Little Daffodils also has a bulletin board prominently displayed near the entrance. The board includes a copy of the daycare center’s state license, their staff screening process and it even lists the quality of the facility’s drinking water.
While Little Daffodils meets Jansen's four rules, both Jansen and Paggeot say that's not always the case with other providers. They suggest doing your own research to see if the daycare is the right fit.
“I would want to make sure they are literally licensed,” says Jansen. “Because there are people out there that provide care that are not licensed. There are all kinds of issues surrounding that."
“Do research, talk to people around you. Don't just go to the first one that's closest by. You always want your kid in the safest place they can be,” adds Paggeot.