Daycare dilemma: Some regulated more than others - - Jackson, MS

Daycare dilemma: Some regulated more than others

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
BRANDON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

What happened in Flora that resulted in the arrest of James Alderman, a former Flora police officer, showed the worst that could happen at a daycare facility.

In this case, law enforcement says the abuse occurred inside the home of Alderman's wife, used as an in-home daycare facility.

The incident also makes some wonder if state agencies are doing all they can to protect thousands of children across the state. 

You see, not all daycare facilities are licensed and regulated by the Mississippi Department of Health.

The regulations for most in-home daycare facilities fill up about almost as many pages as the rules for standalone daycare businesses.

"The rules are much stricter when you're in an actual facility versus an in-home daycare, so I would say the risk is quite high," said Damennia Jones, assistant director at Lake Village Learning Center.

Jones said the risk here refers to anything happening to a child during a daycare operator's watch.

At Lake Village, the state inspects the facility every six months.

"They're checking for any safety hazards," said Jones. "They check to make sure the staff are all up to date on their shot records, they're up to date on their background checks, their fingerprint check." 

One former in-home daycare owner said some aren't regulated at all. Why? She said state law doesn't apply for five or fewer children being watched inside a home.

"Very scary, very scary, said Jones. "No regulations means that anything is possible." 

So, what do parents need to look for when they're searching for the safest daycare facility? Jones said it starts with something as simple as the front door.

At Lake Village, keycode entry and a thumbprint scanner keep unwanted visitors out.

"If you're able to just walk into that building, that would be a red flag to me," said Jones.

Many parents said in-home facilities are a better fit because they're more cost-effective.

Regardless of what you choose, Jones said to be very thorough when you're trusting someone with your child's safety.

"You basically want to be aware of everything that's going on in that building," added Jones.

You can also go to the Mississippi Department of Health's website to see if these daycares are licensed by the state. Daycare inspection reports and complaints are also available as well through the department. 

Experts encourage that kind of research before you choose a daycare for your child.

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