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Investigation into area child care operations

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Amarillo, TX - More than a dozen child care operations in our area have had their license revoked.

Hundreds of residents told us on our NewsChannel 10 Facebook page, they rely on someone else to care for their children.

But many of you asked, "how do we know if our child is safe?"

We checked area child care operations and found, not every place is in compliance.

"My first born son was at an at home facility and I noticed some changes in his behavior," says Audra Leighton, going through listed family home process.

Selecting a day care was hard enough for Audra Leighton but it was the outcome that made it even harder.

"When you went to go pick him up he'd be real scared and get tense. Or when he went to feed, you know, he thought he was just going to be propped up and left somewhere with the bottle," says Audra Leighton, going through listed family home process.

That's when she decided to take things into her own hands and care for children at her home.

She's had experience taking care of children before.

"Working at a daycare, I saw a lot of sickness and discipline issues. You know, you had the workers that were nice when the parents were around but could be very mean to the kids when they weren't," says Audra Leighton, going through listed family home process.

We discovered 19 child care operations in the Texas Panhandle have had their licensed revoked within the last two years.

A majority of them were due to not submitting new background checks and not submitting fees.

"As for other facilities, it can be ongoing health and safety hazards. Or fire safety hazards," says Randi Larson, Department of Family and Protective Services.

We also found in 2012 there were a total of 62 abuse and neglect complaints investigated in child care operations within the Texas Panhandle.

Three of the complaints were found to be valid.

"It can be a single serious violation that results in some kind of abuse and neglect finding or it can be a pattern of non-compliance. Both can result in a revocation but each situation is evaluated on its own," says Randi Larson, Department of Family and Protective Services.

One issue popping up here, is many people are unaware they're providing illegal care.

"If you watch any unrelated children in your home for compensation, for any period of time, you have to have a permit," says Randi Larson, Department of Family and Protective Services.

That's why the "Don't be in the Dark About Child Care" campaign was launched; to encourage parents to put their child in regulated child care.

"It's always good to ask questions about the center's discipline policy, their two-year compliance history, what activities are allowed for their children, who's the child's caregiver," says Randi Larson, Department of Family and Protective Services.

Kathy Goforth has been registered by the state for over a year and says there are several requirements that must be met to stay in compliance.

Operations are inspected and background checks are required.

"I think it's worth it because it gives the parents that are bringing the children into those facilities, you know, a little bit of reassurance that their kids are going to be safe," Kathy Goforth, registered child care home.

To see a full list of compliant and non-compliant child care operations in our area check out the attached links.

If you need to submit a report about an operation call the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services hotline at 1-800-252-5400, or report online at https://www.txabusehotline.org

Other Contacts:
Audra Leighton
806-674-0504
Going through Listed Family Home process

Kathy's Tender Care
Kathy Goforth
806-367-9026
Registered Child-Care Home

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