Local parents have had strong reactions to the state-ordered closure of a South Side daycare facility this week.
After the troubled history at Coastal Bend Childcare 4 Kinder Town, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission shut it down. There were more than 100 violations dating back years at the facility on South Staples near Lipes. That included staff members hitting children.
Experts say the best way to keep your child out of that situation is to do your homework.
“It’s like employing someone to watch their children, so they should vet them as best as possible,” said John Lennan, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
He says the agency’s website is a great place to start.
“You can … look at the compliance history with the state’s minimum standards and you as a parent or caregiver can judge, ‘Do I want to send my child to that facility?'” Lennan explained.
That history includes details on a daycare center’s operating history, results of past inspections, and whether a license was suspended or revoked.
However, Lennan says parents should take that research a step further. He encourages them to plan a visit to the center while children are there.
“Go to a facility on your own and ask for a tour of the facility. Interview the director of that facility. Ask questions about that facility,” Lennan said.
In the end, parents should trust their instincts and choose what works best for their kids.
“They will know it when they see it — that that facility is the one that they feel will be most comfortable for their child.”
Parents are also encouraged to stay involved in their child’s care once they pick a facility.
You can visit state’s searchable daycare database at www.txchildcaresearch.org. If you have any concerns about your child’s safety or health, you should report them to the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400. You should also call the hotline if you think a child care center or home is operating without a state license or permit.