Is my child’s day care facility safe?

Learning about the type of licensing and any potential violations on a day care center’s records is important for Illinois parents.

Whether searching for a day care provider for the first time ever or looking to make a switch to a new facility for some reason, Illinois parents have good reason to be concerned about the safety of a facility. From infancy through the preschool years when children are in these facilities, many hazards could put them in harm's way and it is a parent's right to look out for these and seek providers who truly put their child's best interests ahead of anything, including making a profit.

State monitoring may happen at any time

According to the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services, a representative from the state may conduct a monitoring visit to a day care facility at any time. No prior announcement or arrangements must be made in order for this to happen.

Some monitoring can be part of what is known to be routine such as annual inspections, even if the specific date and time of a visit it not known. When it comes to these annual inspections, facilities with good histories may be evaluated on fewer issues known as key indicators. Those facilities with blemishes on their records or that may not have been in business as long may be assessed on a greater number of factors.

Many things are evaluated during a monitoring visit including fire safety. These visits may include monitoring from the State Fire Marshal. Potential neglect and abuse are also evaluated.

Licenses only granted after thorough monitoring

A facility must first apply for a license to be a day care provider and receive a permit. During the permit time, monitoring visits may happen at any moment but generally occur at least once per month. After a license is granted, another visit does take place within a couple of months.

Special monitoring for facilities with reported issues

If a facility has been the subject of a complaint or a violation, there may be monitoring visits associated with a corrective plan or with an ongoing investigation into suspected child neglect or abuse. Any violation is documented and able to be found via the state's Monitoring Look-up system.

Asking questions is advised before selecting a facility

Today's Parent recommends that moms and dads ask providers about their licensure to get a sense of how they are monitored. It can also be wise to question facilities about their staff-to-child ratio and their practices for handling situations when children may not behave well with each other. This offers great insight into how children are cared for.

At any time when a parent has a concern about the safety or care of their child, they should not hesitate to reach out to an attorney in Illinois for help in determining how to protect their children.