Tips for Parents
Finding a safe caregiver for children
Screening Individual Caregivers
Let caregivers know that you may make unscheduled visits, and then follow through. If this is unacceptable, you may want to find another caregiver.
Ask the caregiver if he/she has ever identified an abused child. The reaction may help you determine if they would minimize or deny abusive behaviors.
Ask the caregiver if he/she has ever been accused of abusing a child. The question may be difficult to ask; however, an informed and responsible caregiver will understand your need to ask this question.
Give your child’s caregiver rules that are consistent with good boundaries that include diapering, toileting, bathing rules, and identifying who will be responsible for tending to your child’s physical needs.
Let the caregiver know that you know about sexual abuse and are vigilant regarding your child’s safety.
Ask the caregiver who else might have access to your child.
Communicate to the caregiver that he or she is to administer no physical discipline to your child for any reason. Direct the caregiver to tell you of any problems he or she may have with your child so that you nay handle it.
Screening of Group Caregiving or Youth Serving Programs/Organization
Ask if background checks are done on volunteers and staff members who will have contact with the child. If so, ask to see the policy and procedure. If not, ask why such a policy or procedure is not in place.
What are the rules about individual staff or volunteers having exclusive time with a child? The sexual abuse of children occurs in private. Activities at the organization should be in the open and observable by others.
Ask about the training staff and volunteers have received regarding child sexual abuse as well as others form of abuse.
What are the policies and procedures for responding to an allegation of child sexual abuse?
When can parents visit with their child?
What are the rules about communicating allegations of child sexual abuse?
What are the rules about toileting, diapering, or cleaning children?
What type of information is given as feedback to the parent?
How is compliance with the rules, policies and procedures ensured?
How are activities of the children and caregivers monitored? If electronic monitoring is used, are they any “black out” spots the equipment does not cover?
What are the policies and procedures to ensure that an unauthorized person does not remove a child from the property?
Let the caregiver know that staff members are not to use physical discipline with your child.
Identify other adults who may have access to your child.
Kristi House thanks the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center in Charleston, SC, for these great tips.