Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Child Day Care in Washington State; Parent Appreciation Day and How to Be Like Your Favorite Detective

I have a particular high regard and appreciation for parents who in spite of the fight and against all odds go the distance to find justice for their children. Little ones who were treated unkindly, who were emotionally traumatized, who were injured, sexually used and molested, little ones who were maimed in licensed child day care or worst of all died as a result on being in day care.

The government system of oversight is flawed and is set up to hide information from parents. What the government and private agencies with whom they contract put out is misleading information on their websites contrary to clear laws the legislature enacted (in Washington State, for example).  I have emails showing the Attorney General's Office advised them that the law was a "shall" to post revocations and suspensions on day care facilities where children were injured or where the violations of law required revocation. The Department of Early Learning casually and cavalierly ignored the law and the Attorney General Office's legal advice on the law.

Unfortunately, as history shows the regulated become the favored client in government oversight and that is the history of licensed child day care as well. 

Parents are at a disadvantage calling in a complaint to the government or its contracted agencies like Child Care Aware. Parents are stonewalled and given inaccurate information even as their gut feelings, their intuition told them the true story. As a former child day care licensor who blew the whistle on the government in Washington State, I have for the last ten years helped parents (and a few providers) get a measure of justice.

Sometimes parents took on the system themselves through the courts and sometimes parents found the high quality law firm that helped them get justice for their child. The biggest part of the story in standing up is that in the future their children will know that mom and dad went to bat for them against a seemingly insurmountable wall of injustice that makes up our government bureaucracies. 

To quote Erin Brockovich whom I had the honor of meeting: "If you believe you're right...stand up and fight for your place in the sun. If you believe you can do it, hang in for the whole 15 rounds because even if you don't win, you will have earned the respect of everyone in the fight, including, yourself and in that sense you have prevailed."

 For parents: The day care has called. Informed you something happened to your child. The more vague the stronger your intuition becomes. Become like your favorite detective, who, what, when, where, how and to what degree or extent. Get the names of staff on duty, when they arrived, get attendance for the day and in your child's classroom. Which children were there, what were their ages? Were any children in need of extra attention prior to the something that happened to your little one? Where were each of the staff at the moment of the "something happened"? Get statements in writing from each staff member, the managers and directors about the something that happened.  The required state form for accidents can lead to vagueness on such a form. Do not depend on that. Parents, you get details, you have a right to know. You have a right to know the details of the day, how it unfolded, leading up to the moment that the something happened to your little one.

Parents are welcomed to email me to get support around what questions to ask. Write Margo at crowvision2007@yahoo.com

With over 20 years of successful  government oversight and now 10 years as an national independent expert witness and analyst regarding child day care licensing as well as teaching courses on recognizing child abuse, child safety, child guidance and observational skills I bring quality focus, comprehension and cogent thought to civil lawsuits, administrative hearings, to parents, grandparents,
to the legislature and the general public on child day care.

Contact me at crowvision2007@yahoo.com

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Parents More and More are Protecting their Children from Licensed Child Day Care in Washington State

Previously as a licensor for thirteen years now for almost the last ten years an expert witness/analyst on the functioning of the Department of Early Learning (DEL) I see from this January 6, 2016 article child day care continues in decline in Washington State while more and more parents analyzed the risk to their children and made other arrangements.

I would advise the mother interviewed for this article and other parents to not put children in a day care setting until they can talk; until they can "tell".  Many parents have done the math and know only two people cannot give any real semblance of quality care to eight infants.  Two people with eight infants?

I see there is a new assistant director in DEL, Frank Ordway who told the interviewer why the number of centers declined from 7000 to 5700 in the last four years: "...there's no money in it"

Perhaps Mr. Ordway might have analyzed the impact of the two infant deaths that occurred in a licensed day care, a provider who only took infants and contained them in a basement that didn't meet safety regulations. After the first infant death without conducting an investigation DEL allowed the provider to continue with her license. A little over ten years later another infant died in the same day care. Parents might have read about that case last year.

Ordway went on to say: "So if you have eight infants, you've got to have two employees," Ordway said. "And you're trying to pay them a living wage, the overhead, the insurance and all the things that come along with providing infant care. It's a really difficult business proposition."

What actions has DEL taken since the deaths of those infants who were in the news for the last few years?  

Mr. Ordway continued: "So over just the last year, 18 months, there has been a variety of laws and policies passed in Olympia that seeks to increase the opportunities, in terms of more child care providers," Ordway said. "A better marketplace, a slimmer set of regulations for them to follow. And if they deliver high quality, more money to reimburse their services." 

Thus as those infant deaths were in the news DEL worked on "...a slimmer set of regulations for them to follow..."?

After not enforcing the safety regulations where two infants died the solution by DEL seems to be to manifest a further decline in such duties as training, oversight and enforcement around licensed child day care?

In the time that I was licensor when licensed providers were required to attend renewal orientation the high quality providers told me how embarrassed they were at the low quality of providers who sat at the table with them.  "This is who people think we are?" For a time those high quality providers formed a separate association to work at bringing quality up. To alleviate the problem of high and low quality providers having to meet in the same room the agency stopped requiring renewal orientation even though it was a law.

But as W. Edward Demings taught us quality must come from the top and go down. The quality at the top of DEL, in my expert opinion, is atrocious.  DSHS (Department of Social and Health Services) under Governor Locke had embraced the Deming business principles ("quality must come from the top") but those never manifested in a system with a long history of entrenched poor quality management. The poor quality of the top managers at DEL comes down the pike to the regional then local levels then on down to the day care provider level.  Poor quality managers liked poor quality providers is what I witnessed.

When too many children die eventually it makes the news then a pretend reform process is instituted. They rename the agency, replace the top person and announce to the public (with the media willing to be their mouthpiece), see we fixed it?

Day care licensing was pulled out of DSHS in 2006, given its own special agency reporting directly to the governor. That was supposed to fix it or give the appearance of fixing it.  A whole new agency with new RCW (Revised Code of Washington) and new WAC (Washington Administrative Code), new laws that at first tamped down the health, safety and well-being of the child in day care.  Plus a whole new load, boatload of taxpayer money to pay for the governor's special agency.  I have a copy of an email between two top managers at DEL making over $100,000.00 with benefits telling each other they were bored.

What is DEL doing now? They are at the top at the right hand of the governor?  What pretend reform are they working on now?

Researching for an up-date I see Ross Hunter is now the director of DEL since September 2015. I find that sad.

When Mr. Hunter was a representative in the legislature he got my copies of the records I submitted to the State Auditor Whistle Blower program. Rep. Hunter found the records extremely concerning and attempted to meet with the top managers of DEL at that time, he was very frustrated with them; and he was powerless to change their behaviors.

Now Mr. Hunter's biography is listed on the DEL website as the new director with nary a concern mentioned about child safety in child day care in Washington State.

Parents will continue to become more empowered and will protect their children as they process and filter through all the propaganda DEL and its managers continue to publish on their website, through news media sources and through taxpayer paid for child care resource and referrals willing to be mouthpieces for the Department of Early Learning.

The article states on average a year of infant care costs $17,300.00.  Parents will find ways for one parent to always be with their children until the children are old enough to protect themselves and can "tell."

One or both parents will become entrepreneurs and figure this out.  They will find work. Their work schedules are such that one parent or the other is with their baby.  That is happening right now with thirty-something year old parents in my extended family.  

I had one provider on my caseload who did medical transcription part time while having her own day care business when her kids were little.  When they went into the school system; she did medical transcription full time from home and was available for school events and supports.

Parents will figure this out and they will more and more protect their children.

Copy and paste into your browser:


http://mynorthwest.com/874/2886746/Is-your-kid-on-a-childcare-wait-list-Heres-why-Washington-is-in-a-childcare-crisis

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Parents and Law Firms: Protecting Kids Through Power Googling


An article written by Arianne Fuchsberger, M.A., a Research Associate for Persuasive Strategies Blog gives parents and attorneys a powerful tool. Persuasive Strategies, written for attorneys I find provides a plethora of valuable information for my line of work as an analyst/expert witness for civil lawsuits related to child day care.

Fuchsberg's article outlines how to conduct searches on potential jurors. Ah, a good skill for parents to embrace to decide which day care will protect and nurture their child.

With my twenty plus years experience and witnessing inside a state government agency and in my opinion parents must understand the government background check process in most states is a joke. Government websites extolling all is "OK" with a particular day care on their particular website is too often nothing more than playing Russian Roulette.  It is smoke and mirrors paraded before parents, the public and the taxpayer that all is perfectly fine in daycare when it is not.

Parents cannot count on the government to do a character background investigation then an analysis on the search documents found on day care staff. The failures I saw inside the system were atrocious; I documented, kept records, put together a log; copies of all were submitted to the high elected offices charged with protecting the public in Washington State.

Where one agency started to take an action to investigate the problem other power brokers stopped that action. Then the government brought in a new computer system and archived the old one in such a way you have to be a computer expert to know how to ask for the "public record" for it to be produced.

Understand the government does not exist to protect your child or your peace of mind. It is more powerful for the parent to know individually the parent is more powerful and sticking up for your child in the end will produce the responsible and trustworthy party. You can be more powerful than the government.

On a child day care center you are researching get all the names of all the staff. Start searching Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and sex offender registries, etc (see article).

A sexual molestation case in day care I assisted with one year I found by a simple search Facebook postings of a person the day care staff had submitted as a character reference. The personal reference was a convicted sex offender.  This information was readily available but no one with oversight responsibilities conducted any kind of research or investigation into any of the staff person's references. Simply ignored.

If child day care centers react to giving you the names of their staff people don't put your children in those day care centers. It is a red flag.  If the state attempts to assure you (particularly in Washington State) that their "background" check "cleared" tell them you are not asking about criminal conviction background.  Your interest is in the "character, competence and suitability" of the staff person; and asked to see copies of records assessing those factors. You want it in black and white.

Be upfront, powerful and demand to be shown the process by which backgrounds are cleared. Asked the state what they mean by "background".  The history with state governments is they mush up criminal conviction history per a list someone up in the government headquarters office drew up as opposed to the "character, competence and suitability" part of the process.

If state government drags their feet, speaks doublespeak, double talk to you, ask why a parent would not have full disclosure on who is having unsupervised or supervised access to their child?  Why not?

When you get the names of day care staff and information pops up contrary to the types of characteristics required to nurture, guide and keep your child safe, print off a copy of what you found, make a copy for the state, give it to them with a demand to know how the state and/or the daycare failed in their duty to find out information you found easily in your search.  Document everything.

From the article is an example of information you might find on Facebook posts (substitute for "juror" day care staff):
  • "Posts – What jurors post or the comments they make on other posts or articles can provide great information. First, what they say can give you an idea of their attitudes and beliefs. How they say it can give you an idea of how strong that belief is, how outspoken and opinionated they may be in deliberations, as well as in jury leadership. Finally, the way in which they say it can provide you with information on their education level and self-perception and presentation."
In teaching my class to day care staff employees when folks identify a favorite detective of theirs these folks seem to have the sharpest critical thinking skills. Sometimes until we do the group exercises they don't realize how sharp and capable they are.  If you have a favorite detective channel them as you do your own investigation.

I see many day care staff hungry and thirsty; wanting to participate in a higher quality of care.  Parents pushing at their end gives the higher quality day care staff concomitant power at their end to push; to confront and expose poor quality staff they've witnessed being unkind to children.

You may want to follow Persuasive Litigator; besides possible strategies in keeping your child safe there might some strategies for your workplace environment as well. 



http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2015/03/social-media-searches-go-beyond-the-google.html#more

Friday, April 3, 2015

How do Child Day Care Staff Evaluate Margo Logan's Teaching on Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse?

In uncluttering and organizing my paperwork I ran across comments made by class participants in the class I teach (for the last seven years) on recognizing and reporting child abuse; and thought my reading public might be interested to know what child day care staff think of me in the way and in the manner I gift my knowledge and expertise to them; how I respect them.  I've been uplifted by the many great hearted people I have met through teaching my class. They show me folks are hungry and thirsty for truth telling and are gratified to learn that their intuition and knowledge is high class. 

When I worked inside DSHS the managers told us that day care providers were dumb so dumb we really needed to have materials written at a fourth grade level for them.  I've met many educated, well read folks coming through my class.  In fact every class we each share a recommendation for a book or a film for each other to perhaps read or see.  There, indeed, are many high class individuals who come through my class.



Comments from Margo Logan’s evaluation cards in teaching
Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse from 2010 – 2011, then some from 2015

1.      “Margo was incredibly knowledgeable and had refreshing and solid perspective on preventing child abuse.”
2.      “Good info! Personal stories were effective.”
3.      “I was grateful for the instructor’s accurate information and experience; the content was very interesting and helpful.”
4.      “She was very knowledgeable and made the course interesting and kept everyone’s attention.”
5.      “I thought Margo was very knowledgeable on the subject matter. Her experience is applied and communicated in a very helpful and informative manner. I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity to meet and learn from such a compassionate and committed individual. Thanks for all your hard work Margo.”
6.      “Very easy to listen to, kept my attention. Real stories she told were helpful and interesting.”
7.      “This is the first abuse class I have ever attended. It was very helpful for me to know how to handle these situations the right way.  Thank you.”
8.      “Great training course; good use of materials and recommendations such as tools and reading materials.”
9.      “Informational and well led.”
10.  “I was very impressed with the knowledge and experience (especially experience) of the instructor.”
11.  “I’m from Japan. We don’t have lots of opportunity to get “don’t tell, don’t ask” kind of issue or information in the small community except big city. I’m really glad to join this class. Class is worth more than $10.00.”
12.  “The stories were very helpful; experience rather than memorizing.”
13.  “Very great, interesting and engaging.”
14.  “Great discussions.”
15.  “Excellent presentation.”
16.  “Love Margo as an instructor.”
17.  “Instructor was well organized and informed.”
18.  “I think the class was very educational and kept my attention well.”
19.  “Great class, amazing stories, more stories needed.”
20.  “Opened my eyes! Very helpful!”
21.  “Very informative. It made me think about how every interaction good or bad with a child can have life long effects.”
22.  “I was quite ignorant before, sobering. Very good to know.”
23.  “I am glad I got the list of books and movies. Thanks!”
24.  “Really informational, makes you think.”
25.  “I learned a lot and now know what I should look for, different scenarios and how I should treat those scenarios.”
26.  “Margo was very informative. She seems to have done her own research which always brings me to a level of confidence and the desire to educate.”
27.  “Very informative even learned something new; statistics, etc.”
28.  “I have been inspired to do more advocate work for abused children. Very informative.  Thank you!”
29.  “You are so good and help me so much. Thanks!”
30.  “A very excellent and clear instructor by Margo’s many years of experience. I am happy to see her, the instructor again…every retaking my classes.”
31.  “Enjoyed Margot!”
32.  “Wonderful class, great lady.”
33.  “Interesting class, stories make it fun!”
34.  “Margo was super pleasant and informative without pushing an agenda. Thank you for not making this totally miserable!”
35.  “Thank you. This is a difficult topic and you did a good job!”
36.  “The instructor was knowledgeable, kind and passionate; very supportive and very insightful.”
37.  “Margo was interesting, relevant and concise as great as this course can be!”
38.  “I was really interested in everything Margo said.  Thank you.”
39.  “A good class dealing with a difficult subject matter is always hard, but the instructor made it easier to handle by keeping things interesting and not too harsh.”
40.  “Lots of good stories, relevant and heartfelt.”
41.  “Great class, lots of good information on reporting and observing child abuse.”
42.  “Very informative and kept our interest.”
43.  “Very well taught. Keep on Keepin’ on!”
44.  “The class was very informative and Margo made sure we felt comfortable with an uncomfortable subject.”
45.  “It was a great course!”
46.  “Would love to take your reading/writing history origins course!”
47.  “Well prepared.”
48.  “Kept my interest. Never bored. Well done.”
49.  “Margo did an awesome job teaching this class! I was engaged and she shared many personal stories which were very impactful. The location was a little hard to find. Overall it was a great class!”
50.  “Comfortable, easy to engage in dialogue; activities to break up sitting and listening, thank you.”
51.  “Margo was great. I love her attitude towards helping children; her ability to go above and beyond.
52.  “This class was amazingly eye opening. I never knew most of the information given.”
53.  “I found this course extremely valuable. Thank you.”