By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
When Julie Powell picked up her children, Carter (18 months) and Konnor (3), from the Toddler Escape Drop-In Child Care in Billings, Montana, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. It wasn’t until she received a call from Billings police later that night that she found out what had happened to Carter earlier that day. A passing motorist on busy Central Avenue had spotted the child wandering around in the street and returned him to the daycare center.
Powell found out, only after the incident, that drop-in daycare centers are not regulated the same way as licensed daycare centers. The state of Montana does not inspect or license drop-in centers. Powell attempted to file a complaint with the state’s child care regulation office, and was told that she needed to call the child abuse hotline. The Child and Family Services Division of the Department of Health and Human Services would conduct a child welfare investigation privately. There would be no mention of the charges or investigation in the state’s searchable database of licenses daycare facilities, since drop-in centers aren’t licensed.
This case highlights the need for parents to do thorough research before selecting a child care facility. Simply visiting the facility and making sure that it looks clean is only the first step. Checking with the appropriate state department about the status of the center’s license (and whether they are even required to have one) can help parents feel more confident about who is caring for their children.
Find out more about this story at Toddler escapes daycare, found on busy street.</a