Death Of Oklahoma Boy Inspires Online Registry Of Daycare Providers

Tuesday, November 9th 2010, 5:34 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A new online registry of daycare workers with a history of abuse doesn't have a single person listed on it.

It was created to help parents and daycare providers quickly check out people who might be around their children, but experts say there's a better way.

The list is blank because it only goes back to July 1, not into everything DHS knows that happened before then.

The Parent Child Center of Tulsa is one of the resources parents can use to satisfy their concerns about daycare.  Their experts say the best way to find a good daycare is to find someone else with a good recommendation.

"The people they know who have found a daycare center they know and trust, so word of mouth recommendations about choosing a daycare," said Stacey Leakey, with the Parent Child Center of Tulsa.

There are online systems through the Department of Human Services to check out providers and individuals, but they're limited to what DHS can verify.

"We don't want to violate anyone's rights and if someone has not been convicted or had these allegations substantiated by our own investigation, they're not going to be placed on the registry and there is due process that we're going to follow," said Mary Leaver, with DHS.

It was the tragic case of Joshua Minton that prompted one aspect of the DHS system to check out daycare providers.

8/26/2010 Related Story: Oklahoma Appeals Court Reduces Sentence For Convicted Tulsa Child Killer

He was suffocated at his daycare and the provider was convicted and sent to prison. The new registry, called Joshua's List, will eventually contain records of people who try to work with children, who fail the background checks.

"During the course of the background check if we come across any individuals with a history that's concerning to us, they'll be placed on the registry," Leaver said.

At the Parent Child Center, they say most parents can get a good sense about a place, just by dropping in unannounced, and if they're not allowed in, watch out.

"That's kind of a big warning sign," Leakey said. "You want parents to feel like they can drop in at any moment, there's a significant level of transparency at the daycare center."