YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – There is no law in Ohio that requires people to get a day care license to provide in-home child care.
A babysitter in Reynoldsburg, who is now facing criminal charges, was running an unlicensed day care when one of the eight infants she was watching died.
There are several different types of child care providers and safety experts say it is important to pick the right one.
“Do they have experience with infants or have they always worked with toddlers or older children? So really understanding the abilities of the person you’re going to be bringing into your home to work with your little ones,” said Stephanie Weigel from Akron Children’s Hospital.
Some parents prefer in-home day care centers to traditional schools.
“It’s a very important question to ask though, if they are state-certified as a home care day care provider,” Weigel said.
Even though it’s not required by law, there’s usually only one reason that people get a state license.
“Many times they get a license so they can take clients that receive publicly-funded child care,” said Lori Murphy from Mahoning County Job and Family Services.
In Ohio, unlicensed providers can care for as many children as they want, but licensed providers have rules to follow.
“A provider that is eligible and is licensed in the state of Ohio has monitoring visits by each county. They have to follow strict rules, they have to have training, they have BCI and FBI checks,” Murphy said.
Despite licenses not being required, many in-home day care providers choose to get certified. Murphy says that in Mahoning County, there are about 120 licensed child care providers.
There are several important steps to take when choosing a child care provider.
- Start your search early. Finding the right provider can take some time.
- Receive referrals to programs that meet your family’s needs.
- Visit the programs you are considering and ask questions to make sure they offer quality care. A quality checklist can help you keep track of what each program offers.
- Review your checklists and compare each program. Consider the star rated license (rating on a scale of one to five stars) and accreditation.
- Get references from other parents in the program.
To find providers in your area, visit the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ search feature.