Licensed child care facilities provide more than babysitting

Licensed childcare facilities are not just babysitting services, as some people may think.

"We're accredited by the National Association for Education of Young Children and have been for seven years," Monique Tilton, owner of Little Eagle Childcare and Preschool, said.

"We care for children up to age 10 and offer pottery workshops, origami, bowling and movies."

Little Eagle is among 18 licensed childcare facilities in Kingman that participated in the Department of Economic Security's Child Care Market Rate Survey 2002.

The survey gathered data from 1,537 centers statewide and reported it for six districts.

Mohave is in District IV, which also includes La Paz and Yuma counties.

The median daily charge for full-time care in District IV was found to be $20-$31.40 for infants, $19-$28 for children ages 1-2, and $17-$24 for children ages 3-5.

Of centers surveyed, three percent reported they provide late night care, one percent provides all night care, four percent offer weekend care, and 11 percent provide extended care.

Tilton said Little Eagle falls within the aforementioned price ranges, but does not have any operate outside of normal business hours.

She said her facility cares for an average of 85 children daily Monday through Friday.

Trudy Hicks is director of daycare at Grace Neal Preschool and Learning Center in St.

Johns United Methodist Church.

Hicks said her facility is licensed for up to 150 children and usually is about 85 percent full.

Fees at Grace Neal Preschool and Learning Center also fall within district survey parameters, but the facility does not offer any care outside of normal business hours.

"We made our plan based on state licensing standards and are in the process of getting accredited by the National Association for Education of Young Children," Hicks said.

"We should have that accreditation by December."

Hubbs House is a third licensed childcare facility that was contacted by the Daily Miner.

It operates under the umbrella of the Western Arizona Council of Governments, but only during the school year.

"We have 20 3- and 4-year-olds," Linda Swenson, program manager for WACOG Head Start, said.

"We're federally funded and parents placing children with us must meet income criteria guidelines."

The 2003 federal poverty guidelines are $8,980 or less for a family with one child, $12,120 for a family with two children, $15,260 for a family with three children, and $18,400 for a family with four children, Swenson said.

"Our program is extensive," Swenson said.

"We have health services for families and a volunteer program for parents at most levels.

We have education, disabilities, social services and family literacy components."

The Miner also spoke with parents and asked what factors they took into account before placing their children where they did.

"Their reputation, reliability of the staff, education and all the activities they use to increase the abilities to work with other children," said Chris Noli, whose 6-year-old daughter, Mariah, attends Grace Neal.

"Another reason we picked here is St.

Johns is affiliated with a church, so my daughter gets religious training as well."

Laura Thode has a 4-year-old daughter, Megan, and 4-year-old great niece, Ryan Standefer, attending Little Eagle.

"My first child came here," Thode said.

"But what made us pick Little Eagle is they always have a full crew here and they offer preschool programs at an early age, whereas most other places just watch your kids."

Cynthia Paul of Chloride brings her 5-year-old daughter, Breanna, to Little Eagle.

"What's important to me is that the children here are not only cared for, but they learn something," Paul said.

"That way by the time they get into school they have a little bit of a jump start."

Recommendations went far in convincing Bill Boyett to place his 6-year-old son, Caleb, at Grace Neal.

"We heard they had a good reputation as far as day care," Boyett said.

"My wife looked at some other places and we talked with other people here and they were real happy."

One of the biggest problems in day care is the large number of families that can't afford it and are on a waiting list for state assistance, Tilton said.

The number of children from infant through age 12 on the DES child care subsidy waiting list was 3,877 statewide as of June 9, Liz Barker, communications director in the DES Public Information Office, said.

The number one-month earlier was 2,394.

"In District IV, there are now 140 families with 276 kids on the waiting list," Barker said.

"By June 30, we estimate there will be 4,850 children statewide on the list."

The Child Care Market Rate Survey may be viewed on the Internet at www.de.state.az.us/childcare/survey.asp.