TYLER, TX (KLTV) - With the end of summer vacation near, many East Texans are scrambling to find quality daycare for their children. But, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is warning "don't be in the dark" when it comes to day care. They're warning that those looking for cheaper care during this recession could turn out to be a costly.
"You are talking about the most valuable possession you have is your baby - your little child," said Carrol Kimberley. "And, what could be more important than making sure they are getting quality care?"
Nothing is more important says Robert Rohde.
"You put the kids first," said Rohde.
For two years, Rohde had an illegal daycare provider watch over his five-year-old daughter Daymiana; illegal, because they were unlisted, unregistered and unlicensed.
"I know, there were several times through the day that she was not watching," said Rohde. "Nobody was supervising either one of the children."
Child care licensing inspector, Carrol Kimberley says placing your kids with an illegal provider can be dangerous.
"Most children are in daycare more than they are at home," said Kimberley. "I know daycare can be expensive. I know it's a crunch. Times are hard for everybody. But, don't make a baby pay because of it."
According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, 60 young children have died in the hands of an illegal day care provider since 2004. That's why DFPS recommends that you take your children to a licensed daycare provider like the Little Red School House in Tyler.
Where child care licensing inspectors make periodic safety inspections to make sure that minimum quality standards are met. All employees working with the children have undergone background checks, and the caregivers are required to be certified in first aid and CPR. Illegal child care providers are not held accountable to these standards.
"We have a 24 hour monitoring system, with infrared," said Ashleigh Smith. "So, even when the lights are turned down during nap time then the camera switches to infrared and we can see in the dark."
"Parents need to go consider if you're going to work," said Angela Hines. "Get the best for your kids."
"Don't just assume that you've gone to church with them and you've known them for a year, and you think it's a safe environment," said Kimberley. "Don't assume. Don't be in the dark about what's going on in that facility."
There is an easy for you to check if a daycare provider is licensed with an online database. To see that, just go to our homepage, scroll down and click on the Big Red Box. There, you'll find the link titled "Child Care Safety."