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Parents, experts weigh factors in picking day care

POSTED: July 13, 2014 12:40 a.m.

The state Department of Early Care and Learning announced Friday that Discovering Basics day care in Clermont would have its license revoked, leaving parents whose kids attend the center scrambling for alternatives.

The day care has the ability to appeal within 10 days of the order, but the center has been closed since June 24. Parents affected by the decision can contact 1-877-ALLGAKIDS or go to www.allgakids.org for help locating a child care center.

Reg Griffin, chief communications officer for DECAL, said in a statement that the agency provides this service for free.

When choosing a day care center, parents consider multiple factors: distance, cost and quality among them.

For Gainesville mother of two Melissa Lykins, it’s all about doing research to ensure your child’s safety on a budget.

“Everybody is looking for a deal. But when it comes to children and the care of children, you’d do anything to protect them with your own life,” she said. “So you should be willing to pay out what you can.”

Lykins, who takes her two children to Primrose School of Gainesville, said preparation is paramount in finding what you want. When choosing a day care, her biggest question was the ratio between children and staff.

“You want to see and ask as many questions as you can. I suggest taking a list of questions — that’s what I did,” Lykins said.

Quality Rated, the statewide rating agency for child care, posts scores for centers that have gone through the voluntary rating system. Parents can see these ratings on www.decal.ga.gov in the “Find a Provider” section. On the site, the database allows you to search for only quality rated programs in a certain area.

Griffin considers licensing and quality ratings to be the biggest points of concern when doing your research.

“This is a very serious decision and should be treated as such,” he said. “You’re asking this person in this program to care of your child for the better part of their day and their week.”

Quality Rated Director Pam Stevens said the best test will be with your own eyes.

“When the rubber meets the road, go in and look and see what the children are experiencing,” she said. “If you’re seeing children that are actively engaged in learning, you’re seeing the right thing. If you’re seeing a bunch of people running around putting out fires ... that’s a whole other thing.”

A solid strategy, Griffin said, is to visit multiple times, particularly after you’ve had a tour and interview.

“After (an interview), do a pop-in maybe a couple days later before you enroll your child just to make sure that what they told you in the interview lives up to real life,” he said.


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