Filing a complaint against a daycare provider is a difficult thing to do, especially if your trust was betrayed or you previously had a close relationship. Conflicts of opinion arise occasionally between daycare providers and parents. When both parties have the best interests of the child in mind, the outcome is generally a positive solution. However, address unresolved concerns -- especially those involving safety and discipline issues -- with your local licensing agency.
Interview prospective daycare providers carefully and check references. Visit when the school is in session and spend some time observing the classroom. Note how the provider interacts with children and handles problems. Ask about communication strategies with parents. Effective daycare providers have a written handbook outlining policies. Bulletin boards, newsletters and emails keep parents in the loop. Select a high-quality daycare provider initially and you may avoid the unpleasant task of having to file a complaint.
Communicate with your provider daily, even if it's for a few minutes. Ask about your child's day and express any concerns you have. When providers and parents spend time developing positive relationships from the beginning, they are much more likely to work together effectively when difficult problems arise.
Discuss minor concerns over behavioral issues, guidance, activities or schedules directly with the daycare provider. If the provider is unwilling to work with you and the issue is one that negatively impacts your child, look for a new provider.
File a complaint with your state's licensing agency if the concern is about lack of supervision, unsafe or unsanitary equipment and surroundings, harsh discipline or other issues that may directly impact the health and well-being of the children in care. The department of human services or social services, or the health department usually oversee daycare licensing in each state. Complaints are filed anonymously unless you choose to give your name.
Tips & Warnings
- The social service system is in place, first and foremost, to protect children. Daycare providers are legally bound to inform local authorities if they suspect a parent or guardian is abusing a child.
- Authorities won't intervene over issues concerning tuition, hours of operation, vacation procedures or other business matters.
- The social service departments in most states are often understaffed. Unless the complaint is one involving serious safety violations or abuse, officials may take several weeks to investigate a complaint.
- Report suspected abuse or sexual abuse to local police authorities as well as the licensing agency.
- Be sensitive in discussing the daycare provider in front of your child. Your child may have bonded with this person and may feel hurt, anxious or confused about the situation.
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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