GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The state of North Carolina does not require all child care facilities to be licensed or regulated.
Most parents assume places that take care of their children are under some kind of guidelines set by the state - and daycare centers are - but there is an entire group of child care facilities the state exempts from regulations.
That means no state inspectors are dropping by to see if these centers are doing what they have to do to keep your kids safe.
"It does make you just question whether or not they are really a safe place or not," said Michaela Amidon who has three children under 8 years old.
Amidon always has her hands full.
And she says the Kids Club at Proehlific Park is the perfect place to bring all three when she's there to work or workout.
"While my oldest daughter is playing basketball, my younger son can be here in the daycare, and I can go work out for that hour instead of sitting and watching a sport and trying to manage all three of them at one time," she explained. "It's just very convenient for me."
But like many parents, Amidon was surprised to find out the state has different restrictions and requirements for child care centers.
According to the State Department of Health and Human Services, if a child care center is part of a health spa, shopping mall, resort hotel or even a church, they aren't required to be licensed. That means no state inspectors are dropping by to check for cleanliness, child to staff ratio, staff training, or even if the children are being properly supervised.
"As a parent I kind of do a little bit of that on my own, kind of knowing before I drop my child off, what I feel like should be the environment for them but I would think the state would play a role," Amidon said.
According to DHHS, over the past few years the department has averaged around 2,400 comaplints a year abotu child care centers. Not all are substantiated but concerned parents do call to make complaints.
Stephanie Beasley is in charge of the child programs at Proehlific and says even with the state's exemption, her facility goes above and beyond to keep kids safe.
"Pretty extensive process that we go through because we want to make sure that anybody that we allow into the groups of kids, we trust 100%," she said, explaining that staff who deal with children go through trainings once a month, undergo extensive background checks and are required to learn CPR and other child safety measures.
A state law enacted January of this year requires criminal background checks but again, no state agency is making sure they are being done at drop-in or short term child care centers.
The only thing the state does require them do is to post a note in a prominent location telling parents they are not regulated.
Whether or not these places are doing that, is up to the parent to find out.
Parents are encouraged to do their due diligence and make sure their children are safe.
Ask questions like: what kind of training does your staff go through?; do you require criminal background checks?; how many staff members will be supervising?
Learn more about the types of child care centers that are exempt from state regulation and other frequently asked questions about drop-in facilities by clicking here.
WFMY News 2