No job comes with a responsibility quite as serious as those who are entrusted with the nurture, education and safety of other people's children. A really good day center provides all this plus individual attention and age-appropriate academic programs, not to mention an introduction to social skills as well. Clearly this job is not for wimps. We parents teach, care for and love our children and know how difficult it can be to make sure we don't do something dumb and lead them astray. How would you like to do this for a classroom of twenty or so kids that you don't even know yet?
Most states regulate child day care centers closely. State Human Services or Child Welfare agencies are responsible for monitoring and licensing these facilities and consider them businesses like any other; they are in the business of care. Applicants for staff positions in day care facilities must meet minimum requirements tantamount to those required for public school teachers. It is common to find a staff member with a Bachelor's or Master's degree in these licensed care centers sitting on the floor with a bunch of two-year-olds. There are even specialists in age appropriate education techniques for the infants in the care of the day care center.
In addition to highly educated staff, there is also likely to be a contingent of younger workers who may often seem not much older than their young charges. Daycare is a vocation which seems to attract young women and many of them take college classes part time while spending the rest of the day utilizing the skills they are learning. Young children seem to enjoy these student-teachers, as they have the youth and energy to play along with them. Gross motor skills are allowed to develop in the company of staff who run and jump and dance right along with the kids!
The requirements for licensing in most states also demand a criminal background check. Not all illegal activities will cause the licensing agency to throw an applicant out of the running, but certainly a conviction of a violent crime or any concerning child endangerment will cause a red flag to be raised and would bar the applicant from working in any licensed day care center in the state. The agency will also closely inspect state police records and may even require fingerprinting to check against FBI records. Even volunteers must undergo a background check so parents can be assured that the sweet little granny rocking their kids to sleep is not a Ma Barker in disguise.
A prudent parent should always take the time and energy to investigate the daycare center they are considering for the care of their children. An interview with the center's director should include inquiries about the staff that would be involved with their child, and perhaps an informal visit to the classroom. A parent would then be able to make an estimation as to how their child might interact with classmates. The staff in that classroom should be able to answer individual questions as well.
Most of the state Child Welfare agencies will have information accessible to the public at large much like the Better Business Bureau has for businesses. They may also have a hotline that can be called to find out whether there have been complaints against a particular day center and how those complaints were handled by the center. The day care center will have an individual licensing agent they work who can also answer questions about a specific day care facility. The director of the center will be able to direct a parent to the proper person within the licensing agency who can answer all their questions.
taken lightly. A large percentage of licensed day care centers are well aware of this and are willing to go overboard in their efforts to maintain educated employees of sterling character. Parents must be able to obtain and verify information regarding the people responsible for their child's care when not with them.
Any parent feels uncomfortable enough putting their precious little ones in the care of others and the ability to investigate the licensed daycare center to which they are entrusting their child alleviates a great deal of this very stressful situation.