By: Megan Palera
The daycare where little Zachary Taylor died was not licensed by the state. Surprisingly, that's not uncommon here in Lincoln. Many parents say they won't send their kids to one that doesn't have a license.
Baby Gabe loves to blow kisses, especially to his daycare provider, Bonnie Sierks, who's been looking after him for nearly a year. Sierks is an in-home daycare provider licensed by the state of Nebraska.
"We knew then that they would be good providers for our son and that it wasn't just someone off the street doing it," said Gabe's mom, Tressa Waterman. Waterman took the time to interview Sierks before dropping her son off. She wanted a safe home, and one that was approved by the state. Sierks couldn't agree more.
She owned a daycare at her home for more than 40 years. The first four, she was not licensed. Then she decided it was time for Bonnie's Little Bunnies Daycare to change for the better. "I wanted to be more safe with the kids and stuff. Have rules and regulations in my home," Sierks said.
One of the perks of being state licensed is you get funding for low-income families. You have to meet a lot of requirements first such as CPR, First Aid and proper medical insurance. The Fire Marshall inspects your home as well as the Health Department, every year unannounced.
Waterman says, even a state license doesn't mean a safe home. "That's why you've got to go through the interview process. You call the people and set up a time and you just go visit them because you can tell then if they're going to be a good provider or not," Waterman says.
It can sometimes be confusing trying to figure out which ones are licensed and what ones are not. To help you out, Nebraska Resource and Referral System has a complete list online at www.NRRS.NE.gov.