Little Heart’s Early Learning Center owner, Susan Touchstone, said she gets calls daily from people searching for reliable childcare.
“I get calls 5 or 6 times a day for infants, one, two, three, four-year-olds every day, but I can’t take anymore,” she said.
She can’t take any more children because she doesn’t have a big enough staff.
“That’s my problem. No one is applying to jobs,” Touchstone said.
Fox 4 asked her what advice she would offer you if you’re searching for childcare. She said that rule number one is to make sure they’re regulated.
“You need to find someone that is licensed. They get inspected,” Touchstone said.
Being inspected means the Florida Department of Children and Families comes into their facility or home — if it’s a home daycare — to ensure they follow health and safety standards.
Those inspection reports are accessible to you. DCF has a provider search that shows licensed daycares in your area and has their full inspection report for each year.
Each report will go over various checks like ensuring the facility is adhering to the proper child to worker ratio. Discipline is also covered.
If you are looking for home daycare, some may be simply registered but not licensed. If it’s not licensed, that means it’s not getting inspected, but being registered still means it meets state standards for childcare like background screenings and having no more than ten kids at a time.
Though Touchstone said she recommends licensed daycares, she knows that registered daycares may be their only option for some families, and there seems to be more popping up in relation to the current demand.
“Just in this area around where I am at, I think there are 15 registered home daycares,” Touchstone said.
DCF recommends families visit the location and ask questions.