NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Every day countless parents send their kids off to daycare. Many love it and couldn’t live without it, but not all daycare centers are created equal. But there’s a movement underway to raise the standards.
From a photo of a child duct taped to a bed in west of Fort Worth, to recent blog posts from a mother in Plano complaining that her son was “soaked in urine” when she picked him up, North Texas parents have plenty of daycare horror stories.
Father Lincoln Morgan is among them. “I was very furious. I was also very afraid,” he said.
Morgan said his three-year-old came home with unexplained cuts and bite marks, that led to her removal from the daycare. CBS 11 News made inquiries but got no calls, paperwork or documentation of the incident.
Texas requires one adult for every 11 two-year-olds at licensed daycare centers. That’s the highest ratio in the nation, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Tori Mannes runs the Bock Child Care Group Center in Dallas. With one adult for every four toddlers, the facility is among only 28 out of 1,500 citywide that is nationally accredited.
When asked how she makes it work Mannes said, “We’re fortunate to have a blend of federal funding, which we put together with private support.”
Childcare advocates are lobbying state lawmakers to lower ratios and strengthen training. Right now, Texas only requires 24 hours of instruction. As a comparison, it takes 1,500 hours of training to get a license to cut hair.
Susan Hoff, the chief strategies and operations officer for United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, agrees the training requirements should be better. “That’s a huge disparity and we want to feel like we’re doing right by our children,” she said.
Can one person adequately handle 11 two-year-olds at once?
Morgan said he saw signs of trouble at his daughter’s previous daycare. “We would go in there and would probably see one teacher for every 20 kids.”
But raising standards will likely increase the cost of care, which is a struggle for families like the Morgan’s who had to rebuild their daughter’s trust after finding a new pre-school they liked.
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