How do you know if a child care facility is credible and safe?

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Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 6:21 pm | Updated: 9:23 pm, Wed Jan 23, 2013.

SARASOTA, Fla. - We told you the tragic story of a couple whose infant died at a local at-home day care. The owners of that daycare are charged with operating without a license, and will head to trial next month.

And as many parents know, selecting a daycare can be a difficult decision. So how do you know if a child care facility is credible and safe?

Finding someone who you're confident cares for your children as well as you can be challenging, especially when there are so many things to consider. 

“What hours? What area? What are the costs?”  Pam Parmenter with the Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County helps parents make this important decision. She says first and foremost, find out if the facility is licensed. Most daycare's in the state of Florida are required to be licensed through the state and are inspected to ensure they meet certain safety and health standards.

“Basic safety, health sanitation, training requirements, immunization records are checked, fire safety, first aid, a multitude of those types of items,” says Virginia Bess, Environmental Supervisor with Sarasota County Health Department.

And it's a simple check on the Department of Children and Families website.

Next, it's time to take a tour. There's a checklist put out by the Office of Early Learning. It has everything that you should be asking and looking for when visiting daycare facilities.

Lorrie Young is the director at the Church of Palms Early Childhood Center. It's not only licensed, but also accredited, and it meets these five simple questions that the department of children and families recommends: It's licensed, it's earned a gold seal, it meets the staff-to child ratios, children are constantly supervised, and it has clean, safe surrounding. “You want to make sure that the people watching your children are appropriate in doing that, and that they do have proper training,” Young.

If you have any questions about a daycare facility or selecting a daycare facility you can contact the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County or Manatee County for additional help.

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