Boise Police warn of unlicensed daycares after recent investigations

Boise Police warns of unlicensed daycares

BOISE -- Boise police are warning about daycare facilities that might not have the care of your child as a priority.

City officials say there have been more child care violations and injuries this summer than they have ever seen.

Violations that are very serious, including two children seriously hurt with life-threatening injuries and one report of sexual abuse of an infant. The incidents reportedly happened at in-home child care facilities or daycare centers.

"The number of investigations we've been involved in this summer sent up some red flags," Boise Police Special Victims Unit Sgt. Darren Mitchell said.

Your child's safety is the most important thing for parents who leave their kids in a child care facility. After recent investigations into serious allegations involving child care providers, Boise police are urging parents to make sure the facility they're using is operating legally.

This summer, police conducted seven different investigations into Boise daycare facilities - which they say is more than normal.

Sgt. Mitchell tells KTVB the nature of the violations are severe.

"We had two this summer that were potential life or death situations and there's been an increase in lewd conducts taking place in child care facilities."

Mitchell says those two life-threatening injuries were to children under the age of 1.

Police found that another infant was sexually abused in early August. They arrested the alleged offender, Aaron Gibson, and charged him with felony lewd conduct with a child.

Last week, after digging deeper, detectives found one facility where a child was seriously hurt was operating illegally, without a license. Police say it was an in-home daycare, near Maple Grove and Ustick, and has since been shut down.

"There should be some red flags going up in people's mind if they're not licensed," City of Boise Administrative Services Manager, Craig Croner, said.

Other places, they found, were violating Boise city codes, including unlicensed personnel and ratio violations.

Officials have this strong message for parents: Make sure your daycare is licensed.

"There are several of them that we call "underground," avoiding circumventing licensing procedures within the city of Boise," Croner said.

Some unlicensed providers will charge a lot less, but Croner says parents would be taking a risk in allowing those providers to care for their children.

There are close to 300 in-home and daycare facilities in Boise, and Croner says the majority are great, providing a healthy and safe environment for kids. Those providers must disclose where they're located, individuals who live there (if it is an in-home facility), submit an application, go through childcare training, CPR training, and have background checks completed.

You can find licensed and recommended day cares on the city's child care website under the 'Parents' tab. The list includes facilities that have met all of the requirements, providing peace of mind for parents who can rest assured knowing their kids are safe and protected.

"Our children are the most important things we have in our lives. We care about them probably more than anything else," Sgt. Mitchell added.

The Boise Police Department says several of the facilities they've been investigating over the summer have been shut down as a result, however, they could not disclose the names of those businesses.

While it is somewhat of a gray area, it is important to clarify what it means to run a daycare in the city of Boise, as opposed to babysitting. In short, officials say if you are charging money for watching multiple children that are not related to you for an extended period of time, you must be licensed.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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