Daycare Dangers Revealed

The following story is a transcript of a report on NBC Bay Area at 11 p.m. news on May 20.

The allegations are detailed in hundreds of pages of court documents filed by the department of social services.

Graphic descriptions of alleged abuse, both physical and sexual.

At a daycare on Calero road in San Jose a child's mouth duct taped shut during quiet time.

In Oakland, a child struck in the face with a ruler until her mouth bled.

A care-taker in in Milpitas with a blood alcohol level more than 3 times the legal limit. So drunk she dropped an infant on the floor not once but twice, when authorities arrived she did not know any of the names of the children in her care.

And at a home on Water Street in San Jose.

A foster father having sex with one of the children.

You may think that child predators, criminals and sex offenders would not be allowed to reside or work in a daycare facility.  They're not.  But that doesn't mean they don't.

Records show repeated examples of criminals working and living in Bay Area day cares.

A man convicted of a violent rape, found living at a daycare on Willow Street in Oakland.

At family childcare home in Cupertino, authorities found sex offender, still wearing his GPS ankle monitor.

And in Gilroy, a convicted criminal working at the daycare sexually abused several children.

There are pages and pages outlining hazardous conditions.

Infants left for hours in baby swings.

Knives, razors and chemicals within a child's reach.

And at a facility on Makato Circle in San Jose -- a loaded gun.

You may be thinking, how could this possibly happen? With more than 43,000 licensed childcare facilities in California.  The Department of Social Services has their work cut out for them. All day cares are subject to inspections about once every 3 years. If there are complaints, authorities will investigate within 10 days.

"They are surprise inspections," said Fred Gill with the Department of Social Services.

Gill has been with the Department of Social Services for almost 30 years....and has seen his fair share of good and bad childcare facilities.

"Any condition that you could imagine," Gill said.

Gill says often times parents are unaware of what is happening at their kid's daycare because they don't know what to look for.

"They don't know the criminal record status of the help. They might not see the dangers that we're aware of. They might not know the incident where a child was left unattended for some period of time, Gill said.

With social services inspecting only 30% of day cares in a given year,  let's face it, it's our responsibility as parent's to be the eyes and ears. But do you know what to look for? What questions to ask? There are some things your daycare provider doesn't have to disclose. You won't find them in state records either. These aren't little things to most parents, these are major issues.

Do you know if there's a gun in your child's family daycare home?

Well, you won't know unless you ask.

Sarah Kinahan with 4 C's, a child care resource center in San Mateo, says it's up to parent's to be their own inspectors. 
She recommends parents be the ones making un-announced visits.

"That is absolutely their right to drop in and check on their child at any time," Kinahan said.

Jessica Maloney didn't know about three pit bulls living at a Redwood City daycare she was considering.

"It wasn't until I went to go ask to look at her back yard," Maloney said.

And although a baby had died from SIDS at her current daycare, there was no record of it in the state file.

"They didn't mention anything.  I was the one that probed and said there wasn't a situation in 1992?" Maloney said.

Maloney only knew about the incident because the provider told her, but she didn't have to.

Here are some questions to ask about the things they don't have to tell you.

What kind of pets are in the home?

Do they have any guns or weapons?

Has there ever been a child death, even if they weren't responsible?

Ask to see the criminal background checks on all adults living and working in the home. They're required to have them.

The parents should be verifying this all first hand when they go out.

And don't assume someone else is checking for you.

To find out about your daycare, do your homework. Here are some helpful links.
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