Resources for summer child care available

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Child Care Aware of Missouri gives list of providers

With school out for summer, parents of young children need safe, affordable resources for child care while they go to work, and resources to find such care are readily available to ease the burden of searching.

Child Care Aware of Missouri is an agency that will give a list of providers in the area, free of charge. They can be reached at 1-866-892-3228, or on the web at www.childcareaware.org.

The child care networking site, www.care.com, has profiles of local providers. Parents can review profiles then interview those they want to contact.

For safety, there is the Missouri Family Care Safety Registry, a service of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The registry was established to promote family and community safety and helps to protect children, seniors and the disabled by providing access to background information on providers.

Background information from the registry contains data from Missouri only and checks state criminal records, sex offender registry, child abuse or neglect records, employee disqualification list and registry, child care facility licensing records and foster parent licensing records.

A parent can ask a new provider they are interviewing if they are registered with the family care safety registry and if they are not, request a background screening. The process costs $12 and benefits the providers as well, as they can show potential clients that they are registered and have no offenses. For more information, people may visit the website at http://health.mo.gov/safety/fcsr/ or call 1-866-422-6872.

Parents can also visit case.net, a public database that keeps civil and criminal records at http://www.courts.com.gov/, to obtain information on providers.

If considering a licensed provider or facility, a parent can call the Child Care Regulation Office in Springfield to make an appointment to look through records for any safety violations that might be of concern. They can be reached at 417-895-6541. Some providers may be license-exempt, such as church day cares, but still have records.

Other ways to find providers include googling the words child care providers, checking the newspaper and community bulletin boards at a local church or checking with local preschools or church day cares, some of which some provide child care for older children during the summer months.

If money is an issue, parents can call the local Barry County Missouri Department of Social Services office at 417-847-4761 to see if they qualify for child care assistance.

For parents who need a place for their child to go but are also looking for a fun, memorable summer outlet for their children, a day camp might be the answer.

The Cassville YMCA's summer day camps run now through August 7 and offer fun activities and field trips for children K-6. Breakfast is included, and parents can drop off children as early as 7 a.m. and pick up as late as 6 p.m. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. For more information on summer day camps call the YMCA at 417-846-1535.

Barry County Youth Camp, a camping experience for children ages 7-10 who may not otherwise have the funds to go on a group camp outing, has been in existence since 1965 and is celebrating its 50th year. The camp includes four days of crafts, hiking, games, swimming, field trips and sessions to teach children about safety, peer pressure cooperation and more, but the main emphasis is on helping children to just have fun and forget. The camp relies on donations. Parents must apply in advance and can get more information at 417-235-3929.

If parents have children enrolled in the Boy Scouts or Girls Scouts, summer camps may also be available. Vacation Bible school is another possibility, which are usually offered in the summer months.

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