DHS site gives link to records
How you can see where your child's day care stands

By Chad Previch Modified: August 30, 2007 at 12:23 pm •  Published: August 29, 2007
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/> "It's a way to provide as much information as we can but not unnecessarily worry parents,” she said.

The site was proposed a few years ago and scheduled to be available by the end of the year, but was pushed up because of Joshua's death.

Because of the number of compliance categories, DHS did not make all categories available online. However, 27 categories are available, including fire safety, health and hazard sections.

Parents without Internet access can go to the day care and look at the most recent monitoring report, showing problems and how they were addressed. They also can make an appointment with a local DHS office to see the entire file.

A gray area
Rick Kerr, who owns six day care centers in the Lawton area, said he thinks parents won't understand what the violations mean. His five centers that are open — one is closed for remodeling — have only six noncompliance incidents since Jan. 30.

"I think it's a good start, but I think it has some gray,” he said.

He said parents need to understand children will get themselves hurt, and they should become concerned if a provider shows a habit of making mistakes. Kerr said he and others would prefer minor violations that occur only once not be reported online. Repeated violations should be reported, he said.

"There's got to be a magic number,” he said.

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WHERE TO GO
Parents can go to www.okdhs.org and then click on "Child Care Locator” to access day care records.


Getting information on your child's provider

•Beginning Oct. 1, all day care facilities must post a notice that the most recent monitoring report is there. Also available at each day care will be summaries of completed investigations from the past 120 days and criminal waivers. A waiver is considered when a person with a record wants to work at a day care. A waiver could be given after DHS staffers take into consideration how old the conviction is and what progress the person has made.

•DHS officials said they used a careful process to determine the right amount of information to provide online. Because of the massive documentation contained in child care files, the DHS did not want to overwhelm parents with information or unnecessarily alarm them.

•The new Web site is intended to be a general overview so parents can decide whether they need more information about their provider. It's not a comprehensive source of information.

•Entire files are also available at local DHS offices.

Source: The state Department of Human Services

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