Tag Archives: protecting children

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward (I Hope)

I was saddened to learn last week of an incident where a child was restrained by a teacher in a local child care center. The proper authorities are involved and an investigation is underway. 4C has been informed of and involved in various responses to this incident. It is central to 4C’s mission to support child care programs and families always, especially in times of need.

Incidents like these are tragic, not only for the individuals involved, but for the field of child care in general. As I’ve reflected on this over the past few days, and grieved for the individuals involved, I am focusing my energy on prevention of incidents like this in the future.

Kentucky and Ohio have made progress in improving child care, but there is still a ways to go. We must guarantee that essential safety, health and protective practices are present every day and build to high quality from there. Every child is wired to learn right from the start and these settings either promote or inhibit children from learning. Not to mention it should be a basic right for us all to be safe. Until child care is perfect, here are a few things you can do:

  • Be aware. Have a heightened awareness for changes in behavior of children or teachers.
  • Trust your gut. If you are suspicious about something in a child care center, please contact 4C so that we can assist you with your concerns or a report. Sometimes children can’t speak for themselves, so they need their caring adults to do so for them.
  • Support comprehensive background checks of child care staff. In a previous blog, I shared that background checks are less in depth than you might think. You can make a difference right now with one easy click to tell your legislator why this issue matters.
  • Be a champion for quality. Some child care and early learning programs are working hard and making the investment in quality. Whether you are a teacher, a parent or a community member, get interested in what the highest quality programs in our community are up to. For more information about quality in child care, visit our Web site.

None of these are absolute assurances that children will be safe, but they go a long way to keep children out of harm’s way.

It’s Criminal Not to Protect Children

Believe it or not, in some states it is possible for a convicted felon to legally work in a child care facility. Furthermore, only 17 states require a check of staff against the sex offender registry. Ohio and Kentucky are among those who don’t require this check.

According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), “currently there is no national safeguard to ensure that the more than 11 million children in child care are cared for by providers without a criminal record.” Child care regulations on background checks vary from state to state. This means that someone could have a vast criminal record in one state, move to another state and work in child care.

Parents have lots to juggle when making the difficult choice about care for their child. They shouldn’t have to worry about whether the caregiver has a criminal background. Parents should be able to expect that their child will be safe.

There is a solution.

A comprehensive background check is available. This check, using fingerprints, covers criminal background, the sex offender registry, and a check of the child abuse and neglect registries. This type of check cannot be falsified like the type that requires only a person’s name. Legislation that will mandate these checks nationally is currently pending in Congress.

We don’t have to wait for the law to pass. There is a lot you can do now. You can stand up for the children in your program by instituting a comprehensive background check for staff. If you believe in this as strongly as I do, you can contact your Senator or Representative and use this simple form to send them a letter.

This, we can all agree on. Our primary job is to protect and keep children safe. Parents count on us to look after their most prized possession and we should take that responsibility very seriously. Please join me in relentless support of comprehensive criminal background checks of all child care providers.