Checking up on your child's daycare - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Checking up on your child's daycare

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Social Services joined in Wednesday on the investigation into the death of a 13 month old boy. Inspectors, along with Richmond police were back inside the Yellow Brick Road Daycare on Fourth Avenue.

The daycare's driver, Keishawn Whitfield is accused of leaving the child in the van for hours. We learned 13 month old Andrew Johnson was inside that van for at least 4 hours,

Beatrice Hyman lives a few houses down from the Yellow Brick Road Daycare. Hyman watches her great grandson De De several days a week. She thinks relatives are the best option, but she says if you have to go to use a daycare center, ask a lot of questions.

"Take a walk around. If it's all good then they should be willing to take you upstairs, downstairs, the basement the kitchen area, outside. Meet the staff," said Beatrice.

It's Jeff Williams's job to make sure central Virginia's 930 licensed daycare providers are safe. His inspectors with the Department of Social Services check these centers at least twice a year.

"We're looking at everything from physical plant issues, supervision, ratios, food services. We're trying to get as accurate a picture as we can," said Williams.

The inspectors even have the power to revoke a license if they find too many violations.

"We really encourage parents to don't just drop your child off at the front of the day care, but, go inside and talk with the staff and get a feel for what's going on inside," he said.

You can even go to the Department of Social Services website and type in your child's day care name to see the inspection records for the facility and to make sure they don't have any major violations.

Beatrice Hyman says her heart still breaks over what happened down the street. She hopes it makes parents across Richmond take another look at their daycare facilities.

"You have to go out and you have to investigate these places because there are no guarantees," said Beatrice.

Vans are also inspected and the drivers are required to have background checks and screenings.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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