Updated: Jun 27, 2019
Don’t miss these Red Flags!
With recent news stories about caretakers abusing their clients, from daycare workers kicking and shaking children, to nursing home employees impregnating a women in a vegetative state, the bell has been rung and people are on high alert when selecting facilities to care for their loved ones. Leaving your infant and toddler under the care of a stranger induces inevitable anxiety and trepidation for every parent. No matter the credibility of the caretaker or facility, knowing your child(ren) are being looked after by someone who has not earned your trust can be daunting. Shephered AI (www.shepherdai.com), a human risk analytics firm, has compiled a list of questions to help you select the best daycare facility for your child(ren). Shepherd AI is working on innovative technology to help parents rest easy knowing their children are safe, protected, and nurtured in a daycare setting.
Here are 10 questions to ask the daycare facilities you are considering for your child(ren). The answers to these questions will help you determine their merit for your business.
#1 Are They Licensed?
Seek facilities or homes that are licensed. Not all daycare centers are required to be licensed.; however, those that are have taken the proper steps to ensure they are compliant with the state’s regulations. For further assurances, seek facilities that are accredited. This is a voluntary process that demonstrates a daycares willingness to meet standards of excellence set by one of three national agencies: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs (NAC) National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA).
Some facilities only hire licensed or certified personnel. This practice provides some additional comfort that they are cautious about who they hire, only seeking candidates with a satisfactory level of education and experience.
Ask to see the daycare facilities licenses and passed inspections. If they refuse: red flag.
#2 What is their Child to Provider Ratio?
Facilities with too many children per provider are a red flag because they are predisposed to neglect and improper care. You want to ensure that there are other children being served; however, you also want your child to receive competent supervision. Each state has their own requirements for provider to child and class/group size ratios. It behooves you to know what those ratios are and whether or not the facility you are is compliant.
Also ask about their staff turnover rate. A good question might be, “How long has your staff worked here?” High turnover signifies operational problems and negative working environments, which you want to avoid.
#3 Is it Clean, Neat, and Safe?
Before selecting a daycare facility or home for your child(ren), take a tour and examine it for cleanliness, neatness, and safety. Ask about their policies on washing toys, eating utensils, and equipment as well as immunizations, nutrition, and diapering. Germs are passed easily through the air as well as on surfaces. Facilities should be thoroughly cleaning from top to bottom daily to minimize children from getting sick or further spreading germs.
#4 Do they follow high safety measures?
While doing your inspection, look for safety hazards like sharp objects and tables, or heavy furniture that should be secured to the wall or floor. Also look for signs of neglect in safety measures like hot water temperature and crib expiration dates. That’s right, cribs have expiration dates – “do not use after” dates to avoid injury.
#5 Are they engaging?
How a provider interacts with your child upon first meeting them is a telling sign of how they will engage your child in perpetuity. For example, if they greet your child with “good morning” “how are you?” and attempt to make the child comfortable, that’s a good sign they will communicate well with your child. If they are dismissive of your child, their primary client, it could signify deeper communication and/or training issues.
#6 How does your child behave?
Observe your child’s behavior when arriving and leaving the facility. Most children will cry when first dropped of at a new daycare facility and until they are comfortable; however, if the continue to cry and insist that they do not want go – listen to them. Children are discerning and may detect something you miss. Similarly, if they do not want to leave the facility – this is a good sign that they enjoy it and being well taken care of.
#7 Do they offer stimulating activities?
Seek facilities that offer engaging and stimulating activities for your child at their particular stage of development. During your tour, ask about their daily program and curriculum. Review it thoroughly to ensure that your child’s time is spent doing quality educational activities. Sitting in front of a television is not an acceptable form of entertainment for some parents. If you are that parent, ask that TV time is minimal, or that they are watching educational programs for an agreed upon amount of time. Look for outdated toys or materials that can hinder as opposed to nurture your child’s development.
#8 Do they have adequate supplies?
Some facilities ask parents to supply their children (depending on age) with food (milk and baby food), a change of clothes or two, and diapers/wipes; however, a qualified facility will have their own supply of these items. Ask about their policies for diapering, nutrition, and “accidents” and also to review their supply quantity and brands.
#9 Go Incognito – Can you stop by unannounced?
Show up at your selected daycare facility unannounced to observe the operation when they are not expecting you. Refer to all of these tips and ensure that everything is still copacetic.
#10 Listen to Your Gut – What perception do you get?
If something feels off, it probably is. Trust your gut intuition. Do not second guess your perceived conclusion. After passing all of your inspections, inquiries, and objections, a provider still may not be a good fit for you and your child(ren).
About Shepherd AI
Shepherd AI was founded in 2017 to be the first in Human Behavior Risk analytics agency that develops and uses technology to eliminate risky human behaviors such as sexual misconduct and assault in intimate professional environments. The Puerto-Rican based company specializes in enabling an environment of trust and safety where team members act with the utmost integrity and stewardship of business. Visit the website for more information at https://www.shepherdai.com/.