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State Cracking Down On Unlicensed Day Cares

Updated: Wednesday, July 30 2014, 10:43 PM CDT

Illegal day cares are becoming a growing problem in Central Texas, and that means people could be leaving their children in dangerous situations and do not know it.

During the last legislative session the Texas Department of Family and Protective Service's Child Care Licensing Program were given new staff to go after illegal day care.

Mah Gilani is part of the three-person unit in Central Texas working to crack down on illegal child care.

"We've had times where knives are just sitting there in the kitchen and kids are running around playing there," Gilani said.

KEYE TV was there as Gilani and her team found a woman in Pflugerville who was taking care of six kids without a permit. The kids' ages varied up to an 11-year-old, and the woman watched the kids ranging from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the week.

Immediately, the regulators shut-down the day care, and called the parents to come pick-up their children.

Child Care Licensing Supervisor Dana Perez warned that these unregulated day cares can be dangerous.

"We've seen that a large percentage of children that have died within the state have been in illegal child care," Perez said.

The state units track down unregulated day cares by knocking on doors and scanning the internet.

They found the daycare in Pflugerville on Craigslist with an ad that claimed to charge several different fees, such as $30 per day and $60 to care for a child overnight.

Perez said most parents are drawn to these day cares because they are cheaper than bigger, licensed operations.

According to a City of Austin report from 2011, Central Texas has the most expensive child care in the entire state.

Perez said that is part of the reason it is a growing concern.

Since the Central Texas unit started last year, they have shut-down more than 250 unlicensed operations in the Austin area. 

"We feel like we're making a very small dent in a very big issue," Perez said.

Perez said, in some cases, caretakers do not know they need a license, but sometimes people intentionally try to get around the law.

"We have people who either have issues with their background or have provided child care in the past and know that they're not supposed to be caring for children, and so they begin caring for children underground," Perez said.

State regulators insist parents need to do their homework, because their child's safety could be at risk.

For more information, click this link:

http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Care/DontBeInTheDark/default.asp

For the state's list of licensed day cares, click this link:

http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Care/Search_Texas_Child_Care/default.asp

By Cassie Gallo

State Cracking Down On Unlicensed Day Cares


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