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How to check a day care center for violations in North Carolina

The N.C. Division of Child Development and Early Education annually visits every N.C. day care unannounced – sometimes more than once a year – and lists all violations it finds on its website, http://ncchildcaresearch.dhhs.state.nc.us/.
The N.C. Division of Child Development and Early Education annually visits every N.C. day care unannounced – sometimes more than once a year – and lists all violations it finds on its website, http://ncchildcaresearch.dhhs.state.nc.us/. along@kcstar.com

Child molestation charges against a former Charlotte preschool teacher might have parents wondering how to check day cares for violations before enrolling their children.

The N.C. Division of Child Development and Early Education annually visits every N.C. day care unannounced – sometimes more than once a year – and lists all violations it finds on its website, http://ncchildcaresearch.dhhs.state.nc.us/.

If a parent, guardian or other concerned resident thinks a child care program is not meeting its licensing requirements, a complaint can be made to the division.

Examples of issues that might be reported include children not being fed nutritious meals, age-inappropriate activities or materials, staff responsible for too many children and children being left in classrooms without an adult present.

The division also will investigate any reports of child “maltreatment,” similar to serious child neglect and child abuse.

The division has no authority over areas such as operational policies about payment, hours or days of operation, if a program chooses not to administer medication, or enrollment or termination policies. Parents should instead discuss those issues with the child care operator, according to the division.

The division also issues star-rated licenses to all eligible child care centers and family child care homes. Centers receive anywhere from one to five stars for quality of care, with 5 being the best. Each center’s star rating also is listed on the state website.

One star means a child care program meets North Carolina’s minimum licensing standards for child care, according to the division. Programs that choose to meet higher standards can apply for a two to five star license.

Programs earn their star rating based on the two components the division says give parents the best indication of quality: Staff education and program standards.

Religious-sponsored child care programs continue to operate with a Notice of Compliance and do not receive a star rating unless they choose to apply.

The state began issuing stars in 2000 because its earliest licensing system didn’t offer enough information to parents about the quality of care each day care was providing, according to the Division of Child Development and Early Education.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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