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Tue, Oct. 22

Unlicensed childcare poses risks

With schoolchildren on summer break, working parents often must make arrangements for childcare services. For working parents of younger children, finding quality childcare is always a challenge. Recently, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has noted unsafe environments with some unlicensed childcare providers. Choosing a licensed caregiver or childcare facility can mean doing some homework.

Persons who care for five or more children for compensation must be certified in order to legally operate in Arizona. A person may care for four or fewer children, who are not their own, without being certified.

Parents seeking licensed childcare options can use the checklist (posted at as a guide for questions to ask and things to notice. A sample of the checklist includes asking:

• If you are welcome to visit, observe and participate in the program at any time while your child is participating;

• If the child care facility posts notices such as fee schedule and refund policy, facility inspection reports, and current license;

• If there are written procedures to release your child to another person;

• If the caregivers have professional training in child care and if they supervise the children at all times, including during naptime.

Additional suggestions involve visual inspection of the facility:

• Are the activity areas neat and clean?

• Is there a well-stocked area for books, games and creative art materials?

• Are toys and equipment in good repair?

• Are there any safety hazards visible, such as furniture that can tip over, unprotected stairways, unsanitary conditions in a food preparation area, or unlocked access to cleaning supplies?

Importantly, parents can observe and learn much about the interaction of the caregivers with the children. Are the children enjoying their activities and getting the individual attention, warmth and understanding that you would like for your child?

For more information, check with ADHS in Phoenix at 1-800-615-8555.

Use online option to make back-to-school shot appointments

Yavapai County Community Health Services (YCCHS) is making it easier for parents to ensure that their children get early and on-time protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. YCCHS is offering two options for getting the "Back-to-School" shots that are required for the next school year.

As a parent, you always have the option to call YCCHS 583-1000 and ask about getting a weekday appointment for your child or children under the age of 19. However, if you have access to a computer and might prefer a Saturday appointment, you may go online to choose your child's appointment time from one of 200 appointment slots available this summer.

Use the online scheduling system to get the shots administered by registered nurses.

These appointments are offered:

• On Saturday, July 26, at 3212 N. Windsong, our health center in Prescott Valley; or,

• On Saturday, Aug. 2,at 1090 Commerce Dr., our health center in Prescott.

Follow simple steps posted at

Parents with busy summer schedules will appreciate the e-mail confirmation and reminder features.

Check with your child's doctor and the school nurse if you have questions about the recommended shots for your child.

Please bring your child's shot records with you to the appointment.

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