In the last #AskNurtureMyChild I listed the Top 8 Signs of a Great Preschool. In one of the steps I touched on the fact that the DFPS licensing reports should have minimal issues reported.
In today's #AskNurtureMyChild I wanted to demystify those inspection reports and talk to you about what you should be looking for in the report.
Demystifying the DFPS Child Care Inspection Reports
One of the most important things to look at is the Departments of Family and Protective Services licensing reports that they complete each year when they inspect a center (they may do more often than once per year, but that is the minimum requirement). The information is out there, but is hard to access and can be confusing to understand.
Here are the steps to help you through the process:
STEP 1: Click on the following link:
STEP 2: Type in the child care center or preschools name you are wanting to look up where it says 'Operation Name'. You can leave everything else blank.
STEP 3: When the Child Care Search Results come back, click on the correct center that shows under the table heading 'Operation/Caregiver Name'.
STEP 4: Scroll to the bottom of the text that comes up. Go down past 'Operation Details' to where it says 'Two Year Inspection Summary'. Now we're finally where we need to be. Now that wasn't hard was it?!
What you want to look at in this section is how many inspections were done, how many standards were examined, and how many deficiencies were found.
STEP 5: DFPS gives a nice summary table of the deficiencies that were found too, so you can see how serious they were.
STEP 6: If you click on each individual category (High, Medium-High, etc.) you can see more specifics on each item. In this example if I clicked on 'High' it would bring up another table that shows what those two high deficiencies were
STEP 7: If you then click within the 'Narrative' column a pop-up box will come up that shows you more details.
STEP 8: Note patterns or severe incidents that concern you. With all of the things that licensing examines during their inspections, it is extremely rare that you will have a school with zero deficiencies. So it is not the number of deficiencies that concern me so much as the type.
When I see a center that has a pattern of paperwork not being on file or background checks not being completed on time, it makes me wonder how well-managed that center is. I also look for extreme incidences where I child is left unattended or an accident report wasn't filed and a parent reported something.
When these types of things happen, it is best to talk to the director and ask about these things. Tell them your concerns and see if they have good answers for you. A good director will be able to address your questions without getting defensive and state exactly what they have put in place to ensure they don't have repeat deficiencies in these areas.
I hope that helps give you a bit of direction on what to look for in a report. Please let me know what questions you have, as I would be happy to discuss things with you further.
The #AskNurtureMyChild feature will be posted every other week. This is where our Nurture My Child families can email their questions on anything child or family related to Rebecca@nurturemychild.com. I will be responding to your questions through email but will also pick a 'hot topic' to answer in more detail every other week. Keep your questions coming!