Last week I wrote about my frustrations surrounding a home daycare provider who seems to spend a lot of time online during the time she is taking care of up to eight children two and under. My frustration with what appears to be borderline neglect to me has lead me to further investigate home daycare and how it runs. I have been thinking about home daycare as an option for my family, and I have always had misgivings about certain aspects of home daycare, but now I’m concerned about how carefully home daycares are monitored. I got some great feedback from Andria on my article last week, and the information she presented has spurred me into digging around a little.
One of the first things I looked at was the differences between listed, registered, and licensed home daycare centers in the state of Texas. Basically, the differences have to do with the amount of education the provider is required to have, how many children s/he can care for, and how often the daycare situation is inspected.
I also have found a couple of web pages that provide a large amount of information about what’s required of a licensed home daycare provider. One is comprised of information provided by the state of Texas and provides a lot of what appears to me to be government-speak about the minimum standards for licensed home daycare. I didn’t find this information to be especially helpful because it is rather terse and not at all given to explanation, but I also did not really dig into it. Another online resource I found is a site provided by a woman who runs her own home daycare. She includes some helpful hints as well as sample contracts.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to find out if there are state regulations that prevent the situation that I described in my article last week, and it seems to depend a lot on whether the daycare provider I described is listed, registered, or licensed. Andria explained some of the regulations that are set forth for licensed home daycare centers, and based on what she described, I am guessing that the daycare provider I described is not licensed or is not being inspected often. I have not seen many posts by her this week, much because I have been too busy to really do more than read it a bit here and there, but also because she seems to be less active.
In addition to Googling myself silly, I also posted a list of interview-like questions on a home daycare provider message board on Baby Center, and I got some really good feedback from some providers. All of the providers who responded to my questions indicated that they are licensed and are subject to pretty frequent surprise inspections and some scheduled inspections. In my interview questions, I had asked if they were subject to any regulations regarding the use of TV or computer by either the provider or the children in their care. All three of the providers that have responded so far have indicated that their states do not have any regulations regarding the use of TV or computer but that they do not use either in their care centers.
The optimist in me REALLY wants to believe that the situation I have encountered in this Baby Center online community is rare and that most home daycare providers are providing conscientious and loving care for the children that are entrusted to them.
In the next week, I plan to interview one registered and one licensed home daycare provider in my town. If you are interested in following along, check back in next week to see what I have learned!
Written by: Lori Anderson