Two separate child care centers in Buffalo have been closed by New York State in the last two weeks. One situation involves allegations of corporal punishment against a 2-year-old. Another child care was shuttered after a 2-year-old was found unresponsive.
Putting a child's safety into the hands of someone else is no easy decision, but it's a decision many families make everyday. So, what should parents know and do before selecting a child care provider?
"There's no one type of child care that just works for everyone," Amanada Kelkenberg, CEO of Child Care Resource Network, explained. "Which is why New York State recognizes the need to have those different types of care."
Child Care Resources Network works to increase access to child care in WNY and offers free services to families trying to navigate the child care world.
It's important for families to choose the right style of child care for their lifestyle and budget, according to Kelkenberg. New York State classifies child care into five categories: day care center, family day care, group family day care, school-aged care and small day care center.
Kelkenberg also points to the importance of being comfortable with the child care provider and finding a good match for the child.
"In terms of even children, the program can be a good fit for a child. Not all children are the same in terms of what they need," she said.
Before choosing a provider, parents can check recent state inspections and learn of any violations through the Office for Children and Family Services (OCFS). To see the searchable database of child care centers, click here.
"We encourage parents to look at those regulations and understand what types of health and safety requirements child care programs need to follow," Kelkenberg said.
Different types of child care centers see different regulations. You can find those guidelines here.
Any health and safety violations or other concerns with a child care center can be reported to OCFS by calling 800-732-5207.