BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Child advocacy groups want to help parents know how to differentiate between a legitimate and unlicensed daycare.
After incidents involving a child found dead in a sweltering van and allegations of a drug trafficking operation being conducted in one center, many parents in Louisiana have been left wondering whom they can trust when it comes to daycare. Some don't know even how to tell the difference between a legitimate licensed daycare and an unlicensed one.
Earl Willis with the Child Care Association of Louisiana said unlicensed daycare or "day homes" are a big problem because they lack certain regulations and inspections that are required at a licensed daycare.
"You have to have a DOTD inspection if you provide those services to the kid, a DHH sanitation inspection, a Fire Marshal inspection and the State Police does a criminal background check on the owner and the employees," said Willis.
He said at "day homes" they are only required to get background checks on the owner and the employees, and the centers only have to register with the state if they are a part of a federal food program. He said this is why the association is asking lawmakers to take action and come up with certain guidelines to regulate unlicensed daycares.
"Because they don't have these rules and these inspectors coming in and out, there is no way of knowing what rules they are breaking and what they are doing wrong until it's simply too late," said Willis.
For a list of licensed daycares compiled by the state Department of Education, click here.