SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Public records show 1,500 licensed daycare providers were cited for deficiencies and safety violations in just five years.
The violations range from simple paperwork problems to hazardous conditions that could harm children. Charla Haley from the Utah Department of Health says childcare facilities are inspected twice a year. One visit is announced, the other is a surprise. "The highest priority is anything that would endanger a child's life or cause them injury."
Between 2005 and 2011 state inspectors recorded more than 7,000 violations. That is shocking news to mom Marcia Jacobs. "I think it's horrifying, especially in a state that is so family centered."
Facilities are put on probation if inspectors find any of the following:
Lack of direct supervision
Six Utah daycares are currently operating on conditional licenses. Haley says their violations are not uncommon. "We find a lot of situations where the chemicals aren't stored properly, lack of supervision sometimes the kids are left a lone for a little while in a facility"
Haley says parents should do their own investigating before putting their children in someone's care. Mom Nichelle Jensen agrees. "It’s your child. It's the most valuable possession you have."
Parents who notice problems in their daycare can call the Utah department of health, or submit a complaint online. Depending on the severity, they will be investigated in a matter of hours, or within a few days.
To find out if your daycare, or one you are considering, has been cited for violations in the past two years visit: www.careaboutchildcare.org