GREENSBORO, N.C. — As the school year finishes up, parents have their own homework to do this summer: knowing exactly who is interacting with your children.
Family Service of the Piedmont warns child sexual abuse is higher in the summer.
“In the summer, your child may be with a caregiver for a much longer period of time. They have more time then to be sexually abused or physically abused by these people, or by someone who’s not used to being around a child and gets frustrated more easily. The physical abuse rates go up. The sexual abuse rates go up in the summer when children are not in school where they’re protected all day,” explained Children’s Advocacy Center Coordinator Cristin Hassell.
Sue Spidell, Director of Family Support Services, adds, “No parent wakes up and says, ‘I don’t care if my child gets abused today.’ It’s never an intent, but it does occur.”
They suggest asking all babysitters, camp directors, daycares and sports leaders for copies of background checks, not just of the staff members but of volunteers, too.
Robin Sink with Guilford Child Development says to ask day cares about their Star Rated License.
Sink also says to insist on group time. “Check that children are not left alone with people one-on-one. You pretty much want several kids and a staff person together ideally.”
“You want to make sure as best you can that you have qualified this person who’s going to be taking care of your precious children,” Spidell added.
They say doing as much research as you can now, will allow your kids to be safer and you to feel more comfortable when you leave them alone.
Guilford Child Development: Child Care Search
NC Division of Child Development and Early Education
DSS Helps Families Pay for Child Care