GREENSBORO, N.C. - An incident near Charlotte this week where children at a child care center accidentally drank a bleach solution has sparked questions about how child care centers are regulated and inspected.
Choosing a daycare isn't easy. However, there are a lot of tools you can access right from your computer to help you make a decision.
Visit The Division of Child Development and Early Education website and type in the name of a child care center. You can read about inspection reports, complaints and violations. Child care centers are inspected at least twice a year, unannounced.
"We are very careful to look at their process, ask them questions about what they're doing, as far as how often they clean and sanitize toys, equipment and furniture," Environmental Health Manager Paula Cox said.
Inspections can take anywhere from a half-hour to several hours. Inspectors observe everything ranging from how staff members change diapers to how they prepare food to how they store food and toys. These findings factor into the state's "star system" which is another way parents can learn more about the strength of a center.
Parents can also reach out to a Regional Child Care Resources and Referral Center. It's free. You can talk to the organization about what you're looking for and they'll try to help you find a child care center that's a good fit. Ultimately, it's up to parents to visit the center and be a reporter, ask a lot of questions.
"They are used to it. I would say, if they're not, that might not be a center where you want to place your child. You, as a parent, should have the right to go from the front door, all the way through to the playground," Joyce V. Fairley, Director of Regional Childcare Resources and Referral, said.
NC Official Child Care Rules and Regulations
Choosing Quality Child Care Brochure