Checking out day care quality could save a life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 15, 2007

To the Editor:

In light of the recent death of a one-year-old in an unlicensed family-based child care facility in Virginia Beach, I implore parents to make their selection of child care providers a thoughtful process and make the safety of their child(ren) a priority.

According to Virginia Department of Social Services, family day home care is the most common form of child care in the United States, especially for younger children. The use of family child care facilities is greatest in rural areas such as ours where child care centers are limited. However, that is all the more reason for parents to carefully examine the facility in which their child(ren) spends the majority of waking hours.

In Virginia, a family day care home is not required to be licensed if there are fewer than five children over and beyond the number of children residing in the home, or no more than four (4) children under the age of two years, including those residing in the home.

Thus, such facilities are unregulated, and that means that no one inspects them for safety issues. If your child is in the care of such a facility, please take the time to make that safety inspection yourself, and if you find issues of concern, please reconsider your decision.

For more information concerning the selection of quality child care for your child(ren), please contact your local Department of Social Services or visit them online at to obtain an excellent brochure entitled, “Choosing Quality Child Care: Building Virginia’s Future Child by Child, Day by Day.” This and more information on making child care decisions may be found at the Smart Beginnings Web site,

Martha N. Kello,

Franklin/Southampton Early Childhood Commission