How to find a safe home daycare for your children

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Springfield parents were shaken when an eight-month-old child died at a home daycare.

Deborah Lundstrom was caring for 10 children when she left them unattended for 12 minutes.

Home childcare is becoming increasingly popular, but parents say it’s important to do your research to make sure you’re getting the perfect fit.

A local parent, Jill Simpson, said she originally took her six-year-old son to Lundstrom for daycare.

“There were just a few things, like he was crying every day and it was weird to me because he never cried when we went to OTC Early Childhood,” Simpson said. “He never cried when we went there.”

Simpson said it’s important for parents to listen to their instincts. For her, that meant finding a new caretaker – which led her to Michelle Crawford.

“I had one at home for about 22 years,” Crawford said.

Crawford lives in Willard and has a licensed home daycare. She said it’s important for parents to ask questions so they can feel safe leaving their child with their caregiver.

“I think it’s best to go through the interview process, go to the place, location or come to the house, see the place for yourself,” Crawford said. .

Michael Bampoe drives his five-year-old son from Springfield to the Crawford home. He has been bringing his children to Michelle for 10 years.

“She usually treats them like they’re her own, like your own children,” Bampoe said. “And it’s a big, you know, not like it’s just another job or it’s, you know, the kids come and go but she really treats them like they’re her own.”

Parents also say that communication is important.

“We can drop by anytime and check them out,” _ said. “Open and fair communication, you know, whenever there’s a problem, she’s always quick to call and I appreciate that we can just drop by or call anytime. And she is always transparent with everything.

Some ways parents can make sure the home daycare they are considering leaving their children with are to see if they have a daycare license.

Providers will need a license if they care for more than six children OR more than three children under 2 years old.

Providers are approved for up to ten children if they meet the following conditions:

  • A guardian
    • Can have up to four children under the age of two
    • Can have six children IF the number of children under two does not exceed three children
    • Can have ten children IF the number of children under two does not exceed two children
  • two guards
    • Can have up to eight children under the age of two
    • Can have ten children IF the number of children under two does not exceed four children.

Once a carer receives their license, it does not expire. The licensing process can take anywhere from three months to a year depending on the type of license the caregiver plans to receive. DESE said the license application is valid for six months. If the application is not accepted within six months, the custodian may submit a new application.

DESE said home child care centers generally receive their license faster than a day care center. DESE said the application process can take longer if a facility is being built during the process and needs more time to comply with the rules.

Parents can find providers of inspections, complaints, license exemptions, and subsidies on the state website. Child Care Aware of Missouri also offers resources for parents, such as questions to ask your prospective caregiver for your child.

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