Risky Decision: Choosing Daycare

Day Home or Full-pledged Daycare

In Alberta, the Ministry of Human Services is responsible for childcare. Parents are responsible for paying childcare fees. According to the provincial government, the median monthly fee for a two year old is approximately CAD725 in a childcare center and CAD580 in a family day home. See 2014 data of child care fees from the 20 largest cities in Canada for a more detailed look at the breakdown of childcare costs nationally (Reference: Finding Quality Chilcare.ca, 2016.Who is Responsible)

Day Home is the term used for provincially approved facilities according to thirteen (13) standards and typically owned/managed by those who are seeking extra income.

The care for up to six children in private residences is allowed (Day Homes). Providers may accommodate a maximum of six children 0-12 years old including the provider’s own children. A maximum of three children may be 36 months or younger. A maximum of two children may be 24 months or younger (Reference: Family Day Home Standards Manual for Alberta, 2013).

These homes are contracted by agencies that monitor them and perform regular inspections on the province’s behalf. A word of caution: some unscrupulous individuals use the term loosely.

Full-fledged daycares are also provincially licensed but under more demanding criteria. According to some parents, a daycare is very similar to day home but may have more than one attendant at the location and there may be more kids.

Calgary News

NEWS1: “Months ago, Simons told CTV Calgary that the baby was fussy and refused to nap in a playpen, so she was placed in a car seat to sleep, a practice that The Canadian Pediatric Society advises against. McGrath told CTV Calgary in January that he and Gladwell believe their baby girl’s death was preventable.

“Had we been aware she was being put into car seats for naps, we would have yanked her out of there immediately,” said the grieving father.

Gladwell added that she and McGrath had tried to find licensed daycare for their twins, but were unable to due to a shortage of childcare spaces.”

SOURCE: Unlicensed Calgary daycare operator charged with criminal negligence in death of 18-month-old girl (DeHaas, J., August 4, 2016. Unlicensed daycare operator charged in toddler death CTV News)

NEWS2: “The 23-year-old owner of the day home was already facing charges of aggravated assault and failing to provide the necessities of life. The woman was taking care of only the one child at the time of the alleged assault. The day home is now suspended

SOURCE: CBC News, 2010. Alberta tot dies of injury after alleged daycare assault

NEWS3: Crown prosecutor Shane Parker said the twenty-two month (22m) old toddler died at the hands of her caregiver at the time.

A forensic neuropathologist who testified at the caregiver’s preliminary inquiry said the spinal cord injuries “could have been from both shaking and banging the head off of something,” Parker said.

He said the child was fussing during a diaper change “and the application of force was done in an upstairs bedroom by the child caregiver.”

“The injuries were from blunt force trauma from a severe degree of force with multiple impact sites.”

SOURCE: Martin, K., 2015-Nov-16. Caitlin Jarosz pleads guilty to manslaughter in death of Mackenzy Woolfsmith.Calgary Sun\News Calgary

For additional stories, follow the link below

News like the above horrifies and saddens many. It strikes so close to home and to our heart. I could relate to the situation because I am a grandfather and a father. It worries me to no end, thinking of the potential dangers lurking when choosing childcare provider.

It is for this reason that I have written this short write up and news clips for all the parents out there.

While it is not a general rule that unlicensed daycare providers threaten child safety, there is higher probability that it can.

Crystal Clear

“You want to be so sure and so crystal clear about where your child is,” said Don Giesbrecht, the CEO of the Canadian Child Care Federation. He considers a license important. If you’re that good and that confident in what you’re doing, then open yourself up to inspection and monitoring,” he said (Sagan, A., 2013. Should your child attend an unlicensed daycare?.CBCNews\Canada).”

It is always better to learn from the experience of others than to experience the pain yourself. Forewarned is forearmed.

As a Risk-based Management practitioner, what more, a grandfather, I would like to remind all Moms and Dads to be acutely aware of all risk indicators before letting others take care of their precious ones. Be cognizant of warning signs that threatens the safety of your child.

Do not focus too much on your own personal objectives, your targets, or your timelines to accomplish something.

Never equate the risk (threat) to the convenience and freedom daycare brings to your life.

Do not rush into making any decision affecting your child. Think deeply and re-think your priority list!

Best Time in Life

The best time in life is being a Mom and a Dad to your kids in their formative years. Nothing beats that.

It is the best thing in the world. It is way beyond work/job, career development, MBA, Doctorate, Diploma, Certificate, and other accolades. Family is first.

 080516-Deciding Childcare2

Figure 1 – Mother and Child by Rufran Frago (1992), Charcoal

Time has a way of judging, showing the truth of the statement and many have seen it. Many have experienced it. Yet, the realization comes into the fore to many just too late. Reminding those who are about to make a decision that can change lives is a great privilege. Feel within your heart the essence of parent-child ties, the special relationship, and the overall value of this message.

Fooled by False Sense of Security

Do not be fooled by false sense of safety and security. Such feeling is typical after establishing a recent connection or acquaintance via network or an informal introduction.

Be highly observant of everything. Do your assignment. Dig deeper! Ask question!

If possible, do not leave your child for relatively long time with anyone. Be highly calculating and prudent. Identify the nuances of a good decision from a bad decision.

Risk Factor

Risk factor (threat) is inversely proportional to the child’s age. It is higher when babies cannot speak yet or just starting to speak (less than 2 years old).

They will not be able to tell you their bad and/or good experience. You will never know exactly what transpired despite your great talent in interpreting baby talk. The future and well-being of your gems while away from you is one hundred percent in those other person’s hands.

Be safety conscious always for the sake of the kids. Exert the best effort to preserve their safety.

When Daycare and Day Home Becomes Unavoidable

If parents cannot avoid sending their babies to Daycare/Childcare due to pressing needs to earn a living for the family, here are the suggested Top Five Criteria to use when picking a Childcare provider:

1)     Well-experienced, licensed, all the caregiver staffs have CPR /First Aid Certification with good moral character and no criminal records. It should be mandatory and first on the list of prerequisites. This requirement is part of your safety checklist. It will increase your confidence and trust.

If they pushed back when asked, consider it is one of the red flags. Move on. They are a dangerous bunch and not worth your time!

080516-Deciding Childcare4.png

Figure 2 – Unlicensed Daycare Statistics (CBCNews, 2013)

Unlicensed provider leaves parents in the dark about their qualifications as can be gleaned from the above graph (Figure 2). Licensed providers bring certainty to the question of competence.

Count the men and women in the place including non-staff residents. Ask for proof of competencies and background certificates. Show how aware, caring, and vigilant you are.

Observe body language, language, tone and make proper interpretation. How is the caregiver’s language proficiency?

Are they patient, likeable, amiable, child friendly, businesslike, stiff, cold, and others? You know what I mean! This is the opportunity to talk with whoever is running the place.

Be gregarious and a good detective at the same time. The information you gather will help in the final decision.

As the old saying goes, “A fish is caught by its mouth.”

Never leave your precious babies in an unlicensed daycare facility. Without proper government inspection and vetting, it is an unsafe place where even acceptable crosscheck and control is not possible.

Regardless of what the unlicensed Owner say, think thrice before deciding. Commitment is different sales talk. In business law, it is smoke puffed in the air, commonly described as sales talk. Do not ever construe such statement as an agreement to a contract.

A loving and conscientious Mom and Dad must spend enough time in the selection process to ensure their child is in good hand.

Try to visit the place more than once before registering. Listen to you inner parental instinct. If you have doubt, it means NO! Disregarding the inner message can lead to heartache.

2)     Complete child-safe facility with a program (not just looking after the child, they have to still feel the family warmth and closeness, and learning). Assess the general safety of the neighborhood. Assess the building, ingress and egress, the room, fire escape, the food, toys, art supplies, security, etc. It is not that simple. Don’t treat your child like a pet dog you can tie to a post, expecting everything will be fine.

Think about this example.

If you leave your baby in an unfriendly environment three days a week for a month, you practically robbed your babies almost two full happy weeks from their formative years. It is an important gap from your direct care and supervision. It can either build or damage a child’s disposition for life.

Child safety is first whether it be a licensed or unlicensed facility (Additional reading: CBC News, 2016.Caleb Charbonneau, 13 months old, dies after choking at Gatineau, Que., daycare).

3)     Has good daycare giving policy

I am sure that parents generally don’t want their child playing with an i-pad, a cellphone, a computer or watching TV all day while the caregivers take it easy. This scenario is more common than we think. Your child needs to continuously develop positively while in daycare.

4)     The Daycare or Day Home should be highly recommended by at least three parents/clients who have already availed of the childcare services.

5)     Go through the additional checklist: Eight Tips of Choosing a daycare.


Not intended to put any additional burden to the already heavy hearts of the victim’s parents but those tragedies were avoidable and preventable.

“The small choices they made were practically insignificant decisions yet the impact is life itself. What is greater than avoiding a threat to one’s very existence? No money can equal survival! (Frago, R., 2016.Man is the Center of the Risk Universe\Small Decision, Big Consequence?\LinkedIn Pulse).

The government (federal, provincial, and city) should put more rigors to the policy governing daycare services. They should absolutely ban any childcare business operating without a license. It will mitigate the threat to life and health of the children, bring more income to the government, and improve caregiving commitment.

May all who read the reminder be guided accordingly to a right decision and not look back in remorse for what could have been.

Parents have to protect them who need it most, their own child.


RUFRAN C. FRAGO, P. Eng., PMP®, CCP, PMI-RMP® (080516)

Rufran is the author of the book Risk-based Management in the World of Threats and Opportunities: A Project Controls Perspective.

Those who are interested, join Rufran at the following sites:

Related articles authored by Rufran Frago.

  1. Man is the Center of the Risk Universe
  2. Risks as a Function of Time
  3. Your World, Our Risk Universe
  4. Rufran Frago in the Global Risk Community Site
  5. Earthquakes, Super Typhoons and Fundamentals of RBM
  6. Risks as a Function of Time
  7. Changing the Culture of Your Organization
  8. A Person Perceives Others Based on His Own Interest
  9. How Can Management Motivate and Empower?
  10. How Can Managers Increase Leadership Effectiveness
  11. Risks Surrounding Canada’s TFW Part 2
  12. Oil Price, Recession: Causes, Issues and Risks

About rcfrago

Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP, is the Founder/CEO of PM solution Pro, a tradename/trademark of Risk-based Management and Services Inc., a Canadian company focusing on project/business risk-based management consulting, business development, creative products, and training services. Senior project consultant, planner, scheduler, engineer, business developer, published author, with deep, diversified experience in management and controls. Hands-on work experience in engineering, maintenance, reliability program, operation, EH&S, training, and administration. Recognized subject matter expert by peers in project and Turn-around maintenance planning and scheduling, schedule quality assessment, and risk analysis. Proficient in project management framework, processes, tools, systems, and applications. Risk-based practitioner who value safety, integrity, ethics, and professionalism. Mr. Frago's personal work philosophy: "My client's success is also my own!" He has many years of international industry-related work ‎experience in Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Oleo-chemicals, Sugar Refining, Power/Utilities/Nuclear, Manufacturing, Consulting, and Education. He has worked in various parts of the world (Location: Asia, Middle East, Canada, and North Africa). Rufran has worked with Caltex, Uniman, Unichem (now Cocochem), ARAMCO-KSA, Central Azucarera de Tarlac, Arabian Gulf Oil Company-Libya, Batangas State University, Saint Bridget's College, JG Summit Petrochemicals, Halliburton-Kellogg, Brown and Root, OPTI Canada, and Suncor Energy Inc. His expertise includes risk-based project management, risk analysis, planning & scheduling, cost management, auditing, maintenance, operation, EH&S and reliability engineering. He is interested in providing solutions and innovations to all clients and stakeholders. Mr. Frago is a risk management professional. He studied at BSU graduating with a Diploma in Petroleum Refinery Maintenance Technician, and BS Mechanical Engineering. He also has a Bachelors degree in Management Engineering from UB. He took up MBA courses under UP-PBMIT Consortium. Rufran completed Computer Technician Program at ICS-Pennsylvania, USA, APM Certificate program at SAIT-Calgary, and PM Certificate program-Construction Management. He is presently taking up PM Certificate program-Risk Management at University of Calgary. He was a recipient of the Gerry Roxas Leadership Award, the American Field Service (AFS) Scholarship grant, and the CALTEX scholarship grant where he specialized in Petroleum Refinery Maintenance. The author wants to share his knowledge and leave behind some legacy to all readers, most especially to his wife, children and lovely grandchildren, Eva and Mia.
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