Study of in-home daycare ranks Siouxland states low
By Ross Caniglia, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Meteorologist - bio | email
REMSEN, Iowa (KTIV) -
The dog days of summer mean school's out, and more kids are in daycare while their parents are at work.
A new study might make parents second-guess putting their kids in an in-home care.
When it comes to how well state standards protect kids in an in-home daycare setting, Iowa and Nebraska scorednear thebottomof the rankings of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense.
South Dakota ranked at the bottom.
But, a second look at the study shows the facts might not be as alarming as some think.
Melissa Juhl at Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral says there are two reasons why Iowa scored low: homes are inspected annually instead of quarterly, and those inspections can only happen if the home is registered.
"In Northwest Iowa, we work with 16,000 child care providers. About half of our home providers are actually registered with the Department of Human Services. The other half are non-registered," said Juhl.
In other words, it's all about state rules, not necessarily care quality.
But Missie Smith, a registered child care home provider in Moville, isn't so sure that it doesn't shed some light on that too.
"I'm on the food program also. So that's another benefit, that the children get healthy foods," said Missie Smith.
From the start, Missie was a little surprised by Iowa's regulations.
Right now, in-home daycares, in Iowa, with fewer than five kids, don't have to register with the state. But, if an in-home daycare has more than five kids, it has to register. Missie's one of them.
"They have to have their exits marked. They have to have tornado and fire plans set. They have to have fire extinguishers in the rooms that they are providing care in," said Juhl.
Unregistered, in-home daycares don't have to do that. And then there's the problem of how often inspections are taking place.
Missie says not often enough.
"There's one that has 18 children, and you're only supposed to have 12 with 1 person helping you. By yourself, you're only supposed to have up to 8. So, it kind of worries me how you can with that many children, keep an eye on all of them," said Smith.
Both rules that Missie hopes will be adjusted to improve quality of care in the future.
"Just hope that people will remember that children are first and to treat them good," said Smith.
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