- The Virginia General Assembly, which still allows for men and women (yes, both) to open a home daycare for under five children without licensure and,
- The Virginia General Assembly, which still allows centers to claim religious exemption. Many do this for good reasons, I assume, but still there are too many in the Commonwealth that use religious exemption for the purpose of avoiding the more rigorous standards and inspections inherent in having a license.
My friend suggested that the culprit is not the religious exemption, but the lack of enforcement of health and safety laws already on the books. Perhaps this is so. Centers must be inspected soon after they open. The catch is that they are not regularly inspected, as licensed centers are. And if you read the Washington Post expose of unlicensed home daycare, you will understand the first point above.
Another friend in the business of training caregivers suggests that the culprit, if there is only one in such a tragic business, is that in rural Virginia, fire and health inspectors are loathe to appear "un-Christian" (full disclosure: I am a Christian) by surprising religious exempt (RE) centers with inspections for health and safety violations when no one has complained. And centers that cater to the poor have clients who are so grateful to have their children in any care that they will accept the word of their center when they say their children are, indeed, being given real milk, when it is actually sugar-water.
The conundrum is too surreal for words. It is shameful that these situations exist in a modern society that is allegedly first-world, and civilized.
Whoever is dropping the ball, and the ball is often being dropped by those who pretend to be on the side of children, must step up to the plate and catch it
Risky Day Care (WP). There is no excuse for allowing children to burn and starve because people aren't doing their jobs.