INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Finding child care can be challenging, but finding a safe home day care can be even more stressful for parents. Indiana home day care centers can be licensed with the state, and they can be unlicensed as long as they don't have more than five unrelated kids in the home.
According to the Attorney General's report, one unlicensed home care center had more than five unrelated kids in the home. The report states numerous violations as well as the death of a 5-month-old baby boy as reasons why they asked for the center to be closed.
"It's awful. It makes me sick, whenever I hear about this stuff it makes me sick. You have to be responsible for the kids you are taking care of," says Ellen Zagarjevski, the owner of Ellen's Day Care.
Ellen Zagarjevski has been running her day care center out of her home for 17 years. She says home day cares offer something more that other centers don't.
"It's more attention. It's more love. It's less formal, less kids," says Ellen.
Ellen's day care center is licensed through the state and at least once a year her home is checked and she has to follow more than 100 requirements.
"I think safe here for the kids. We have to fulfill all these requirements and most of them, I can not tell you that all of them, but most of them make sense," says Ellen.
Child Care Answers is a referral agency for parents looking for day cares. The Director of Programming says that's one way parents can make sure a facility is safe, by their having their license. To get licensed through the state, care takers have to pass a criminal background check and drug test. However, Mindy Bennett says unlicensed facilities can be safe too.
"It depends, it really would depend. My sister may care for my children, my best friend may care for my children, but I'm really going to make sure that they're following what I believe," says Mindy Bennett, the Director of Programming.
Bennett does point out while the law states there can not be more than five unrelated children in the home for an exempt facility, there are loopholes.
For instance, the owner could be watching their own kids plus relatives kids and five unrelated kids and not be breaking the law. Bennett recommends parents should be aware of adult to child ratio.
Bennett parents can also check licensed facilities state inspections and complaints online.
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