Breaking News
More () »

Jacksonville's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Jacksonville, Florida | FirstCoastNews.com

Working Moms: How to vet daycares in your area

As her kids entered daycare, Sharyse Tutler says she left no stone unturned. She encourages other parents to do the same using a tool she finds helpful.

Daycare can be a scary place for parents. Numerous reports of children being abused, or in extreme cases dying while at daycare, contribute to a parent's insecurities about leaving their children in the care of strangers. So what can be done to ease your mind and how can you find childcare that's the right fit for you and your family? 

Military mom Sharyse Tutler has four kids and never clocks out from her most important work as a parent.

“Being a teacher it's difficult because a lot of my time is spent at work and there are things that I have to get done," she said. "On the flip side, my children are my priority.”

As her kids entered daycare, Tutler says she left no stone unturned. She encourages other parents to do the same using a tool she finds helpful.

"I hope that parents know this is something that is public," she said. "Anybody can see this. You're snooping around but you're doing your due diligence as a parent and you're investigating and that's your right. Most people don't even know that daycare facilities are inspected twice a year and there's a report. So what you're looking for is that report and what happened.”

The Department of Children and Families has a list of licensed daycare facilities in the state. A daycare's inspection report is just a few clicks away once you're on that site.

"The provider search this is where the good stuff is," she said.

Tutler has been down this road a time or two in search of adequate childcare.

"It probably took me three months to find a preschool because nothing at that point was good enough and being a teacher I was extremely critical of every single place I went to," she said.

Tutler’s advice, once you're ready for daycare visits, is to leave your child at home during your first trip because they could become a distraction. The second time around, you should take your child and see how they react in the environment. Also, bring along a spouse or another set of eyes. The main thing is to trust your gut. If you walk in and you feel like something is wrong go with that gut feeling.