Choosing Child Care Wisely In Wake Of Clinton Infant Tragedy 

Last week, Maine State Police charged a 10-year-old girl with manslaughter in the death of a 3-month-old baby.The victim’s mother told us she thought she had left her child in a safe environment. When it comes to child care, how can you be sure you’re child is in good hands?In July, 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss Greenaway died while in the care of a babysitter in Fairfield. A 10-year-old girl who was in the house that night has been charged with manslaughter. The infant’s death has made parents think a little harder about who they’re leaving their children with. Kelly York has operated a child care facility in Skowhegan for the past six years. She knows what parents should be on the lookout for when it comes to who they put their trust in to watch their children. “A lot of it comes down to comfort level,” York said. “It’s important to know if they do have background checks. What their child ratio is to their children for their teachers. I always tell parents to go visit. If they feel comfortable, then chances are it’s an okay place.”York says there are red flags to look out for. “It’s a good idea if they have an open door policy where you can show up at any time. Any place that doesn’t allow you to come at certain times makes you kind of wonder why. Look at the toys. Are they age appropriate? Are there choking hazards? Are there teachers that are CPR and first aid certified?”It may sound odd, but York also urges parents to make sure whoever they trust to watch their kids doesn’t mind having children around. “It’s not an easy job,” she says. “And it can be a burnout job if you have a lot of kids the same age in a classroom. It’s very busy. You have to have a lot of patience.” Finding child care has never been easier. Hundreds of babysitters in central Maine are just a click away. But just because a website says they’ve done a background check, should you believe them? Kristen Slefinger, a Family Services Manager at Educare in Waterville, says there are ways to check. “If it’s a licensed child care provider, they have to have those background checks in place,” Slefinger says. “You can contact the Department of Health and Human Services in the licensing unit and they can tell you if there’s any kind of complaints or any sanctions against a child care license.”If it’s not a licensed child care provider and just a family member or a friend, Slefinger says you as a parent need to do your homework. “You don’t know. You don’t have that assurance. So you really have to know who you’re talking to.”