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How Idaho regulates daycares and what parents should ask before their child attends one

The state has several requirements for a provider to operate a daycare center.

BOISE, Idaho — Following the arrest of a Mountain Home daycare worker, KTVB investigated what it takes to run a daycare in Idaho and what parents should ask before their children attend a daycare in Idaho.

Court records indicate that Eric Junge is being charged with a felony count of lewd conduct that happened at Mickey and Minnie's Playhouse in Mountain Home.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare suspended their license and shut the center down after the center failed to report the abuse and arrest to the department.

Junge went through a background check just like any employee at a daycare would need to and he passed. Online court records indicate Junge was charged with injury to a child in 2007, but the charge was dismissed. This dismissed charge didn’t ban him from being employed.

Regarding regulations and licensing for daycare centers in Idaho, the state does have quite the list of requirements if someone wants to get a license to run a daycare.

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The applicant has to pay a fee and the amount of the fee depends on the size of the daycare. The fee for a daycare center with 26 or more children at any given time is $325. A fee for a daycare center with 13 to 25 children will cost $250, and group and family daycares will cost $100.

Every employee must also undergo a background check. Health and Welfare conducts expanded background checks, meaning the department does a nationwide search of the individual.

Daycare center providers also need to have liability and fire insurance, and at least one adult always must be in the building that is certified in pediatric CPR and first aid.

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Health and Welfare laid out what parents should do if they’re looking for a daycare center.

“The best thing they can do is go onsite and visit the daycare when they're actually operating to see how things are being handled, and ask them questions, don't be afraid to talk to the provider,” Marilyn Peoples, the program specialist for daycare licensing, said. “Are they keeping up with their criminal history compliance, are their inspections current, do they do training hours and ask them questions about those requirements and go on-site and see how they care for the kids.”

It is possible that specific cities or counties will also have different requirements to run a daycare. If cities or counties do, those requirements need to be stricter than the state requirements.

Health and Welfare told KTVB the suspension of daycare licenses in the state is very rare.

“We're very fortunate that we don't have a lot of suspensions, and revocations of licenses in Idaho,” Peoples said. “We have a large number of quality providers and we're really glad we have them.”

The department has a checklist online for parents to use when evaluating a potential daycare center for their family. 

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