There are more than 350 home day care facilities not to mention the professional day care centers in Sioux Falls. Each of them goes through a long list of paperwork, inspections and education to get them properly ready for business.
"There might be a lot of education at that time, because that is what we want to achieve in that pre-opening inspection is to really make sure that they're really as well-equipped as they need to be to start running a day care," Sioux Falls Department of Health director Jill Franken said.
After a new facility opens, inspections continue over the next year, including pre-set and surprise visits.
"There are all kinds of things that can be corrected very quickly and very simply and that we can all have full confidence they're going to handle that well into the future," Franken said.
If issues aren't corrected, there could be a follow-up inspection. If inspectors find violations, the first step is to issue a citation that carries a fine. If the violation is serious enough where a child may be in danger, the child care license could be suspended or revoked.
"We have a set of requirements in our ordinance about how a day care should be structured, but then there's all kinds of other things around children being safe and treated as they should be that fall under the jurisdiction of child protection or the police department," Franken said.
Franken says calls are generally made to Child Protective Services first, and then her department is brought in later to handle the child care license. If a family can't find another day care facility after one closes, there are resources that can help.
"If parents are saying to us 'We're at a loss,' we refer them to the 211 helpline and they are very good at helping families that are either new to the community or are in need of day care on an urgent basis," Franken said.
Franken adds that if you have any concerns about a day care facility your child attends, ask to do your own inspection to see if it meets the standards you expect out of where you child stays.