Preschool may be to blame for toddler found alone, wandering in Encinitas park

Posted at 8:27 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 01:15:54-04

ENCINITAS, Calif. -- The California Department of Social Services is looking into how a 2-year-old boy ended up wandering alone at an Encinitas park.

Officials tell Team 10 they are working with law enforcement and interviewing staff at the facility.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department says a mix-up in the preschool’s head count is to blame.

The state offers a website to provide the public with important information regarding facilities licensed by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services.

If you don’t know what’s best for you, or where to start, the YMCA Childcare Resource Service can help.

Teams with the YMCA are educating parents on all the childcare options available in the county and steps to take.

“We’re really sort of all things childcare here,” said Executive Administration Specialist Ariana Steck. “We’re attacking it from the family side in terms of those families that need to locate childcare, and then from the provider side.”

Steck walked Team 10 through the YMCA's childcare resource website, which gives families information to help them understand options for care, and know the questions to ask a provider.

"How long have they been doing childcare? What does a daily routine look like? What types of activities do they provide? What ages do they care for?” she said.

Finding the right caregiver can be challenging, but Steck says parents should follow these five steps when visiting a childcare program.

"They want to look, they want to listen, they want to count, they want to ask [questions] and most importantly they want to be informed,” she said.

As a parent or guardian, you have the right to review any childcare provider's public record. The state has background information online giving you any violations or citations the provider has received.

You can also pop into a local community care office and review the provider's actual file.

Being informed is the best way to protect yourself and your kids.

"It's really saying, 'Can I come to your home and observe the interactions that are occurring? Can I have an interview with you one on one,'"she said.

The YMCA Childcare Resource Service can help with immediate needs or long-term planning.