Danger Signals

The work of parents in ensuring a quality child care experience does not stop once a selection has been made. Parents can serve as advocates for their own child and other children by monitoring their child’s child care program. In North Carolina, the Division of Child Development and Early Education, the agency that regulates NC child care programs, may only visit a program once a year. Therefore, monitoring your provider is up to you.

Here are some warning signs that can help alert parents to problems:

  • The center or home discourages parental visits or questions.
  • Parents must knock or call before entering.
  • The teacher or family child care provider seems harsh or indifferent to children.
  • The teacher or family child care provider uses corporal punishment, such as spanking, shaking or rough handling.
  • Teachers spend more time talking to each other than talking and playing with the children, or the family child care provider spends more time taking care of her own needs or the needs of her family than talking and playing with the children.
  • There are not enough adults for the number of children in care.
  • In a child care center, children are moved from classroom to classroom during the day to meet staff/child ratios.
  • In a family child care home, there are a lot of other family members and friends in the home that you and your child do not know.
  • The center or home is dirty or unsafe.
  • Toys, learning materials and equipment are in short supply and often put out of the reach of children.
  • There is a pattern of recurrent accidents or illnesses that seems excessive.
  • Children are expected to wait for long periods of time doing nothing but standing in lines or sitting at tables.
  • Your child is still unhappy after a reasonable adjustment period.

It is always advisable to share your concerns with your child care provider. Often there is a reasonable explanation or solution. If, however, the problem seems very serious and involves children being physically or emotionally harmed, parents in North Carolina should not hesitate to contact Child Care Referral Central at 855-EARLY ED (855-327-5933) or the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education at 1-800-859-0829. Sometimes parents feel that the problem is only affecting their own child and solve the problem by finding another child care program. Sharing your concerns with others may help prevent additional children from being hurt.

Services supported by the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education.

Additional support for services in the Triangle provided by Durham County Government, Durham's Partnership for Children - a Smart Start Initiative, the Town of Cary, United Way of the Greater Triangle, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.