Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- "Look, listen, ask. Know before you go," that's the message from DSS' Child Care Services.
The agency has a new campaign they plan to expand encouraging parents to seek as much information as they can when looking for child care.
Leigh Bolick, Director of Child Care Services says asking questions is key for parents searching for child care. She says you can expect to see brochures, posters, billboards and information on websites with the campaign.
"I've found that people that own childcare facilities want to do a good job, they don't always know how to do that so it's very important for a parent to make sure everyday that they're satisfied with the level of care they're being given," said Bolick.
She says just because someone keeps children doesn't mean the facility has to be licensed and that means they may not receive the two unannounced visits from the state each year.
She says parents should not be afraid to ask question before placing their child in someone's care, and that those questions should continue, especially if you have a concern.
Thorough DSS, childcare providers in South Carolina can take some initiative with their level of service by participating in the ABC Quality Program, which goes beyond having a license.
"That means that's an additional inspection, it's voluntary, I would certainly be asking my provider if they volunteered for those higher standards in addition to being licensed," said Bolick.
Another thing to be aware of is a facility's written policies. Bolick says they don't recommend older children be placed in the same areas as younger ones, but she says there's no law against it. Still she says the number of adults supervising a group of children depends on their age, with a smaller ratio for younger children.
"Supervision is one of the biggest issues, or lack thereof, we have in the state, having a enough staff, staff that are trained and aware of what's going on so that so that they can intervene if there are issues," she said.
And at the end of the day, she says parents have the power to report their concerns to DSS, and remove their children if they think it's necessary.
"It is critical that parents know exactly where they're putting their children," said Bolick.
If you are looking for more information on child care providers you can access their history with DSS, as well as complaints made against them on the DSS Child Care Services website.