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Parents' day care dilemma: Homes vs. centers

By Chad Previch Modified: August 7, 2007 at 12:30 am •  Published: August 7, 2007
out 107,000 children are in centers and 30,000 are in homes.

•There tends to be more regulations on centers because the department cannot make a homeowner do certain things within their property, Leaver said.

Advantages to both

•Leaver's child is in a center. She said she noticed one advantage recently when her son was having trouble there. They met with her and decided to move her son up one classroom and now he's doing much better.

•Although Leaver keeps her child in a center, she said she has seen some amazing work done in homes. Either way, center and home employees, who go through the same background checks, have their hands full. "In one day, my son wipes me out, and he's only one child,” she said, laughing.

DHS workload

•DHS child care licensing workers are charged with three unannounced visits to each facility annually, Leaver said. Each worker is responsible for an average of 40 homes and 11 centers.

•Last week Gov. Brad Henry approved new regulations passed by DHS officials. They were drafted in the wake of Joshua Minton's death at a home day care in Tulsa.

Joshua died in a hospital after being found with his mouth taped and his hands bound. Vicki Chiles, the day care's owner, told police she taped Joshua because he would not be quiet during nap time. She is charged with first-degree murder.

•The new rules, which speed up the time an emergency shutdown order can be issued and allow parents better access to see inspections, are sure to place more burden on the agency.

The end of day care homes?

•Rick Kerr, a Lawton owner and operator of six day care centers, said he thinks the rules could phase out many day care homes.

•He said children at centers, by state law, are never left alone like they might be in a home when the provider checks the mail or uses the rest room.

•Lori Burroughs, who watches Gilkerson's son, said homes allow for more personal care.

Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services