Experts: Parent had better options for suitable child care - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Experts: Parent had better options for suitable child care

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Kimberly Slaughter Kimberly Slaughter
A photo of bruising the child suffered. A photo of bruising the child suffered.
She found the caregiver on Craigslist.com. She found the caregiver on Craigslist.com.
Tina Timberlake-Whitaker (Source: LMDC) Tina Timberlake-Whitaker (Source: LMDC)
Susan Vessels Susan Vessels

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville daycare worker was charged after hitting a 1-year-old in the face several times. Then, the mother of the child revealed she found the caregiver on Craigslist.

"I actually went on Craigslist," Louisville mom Kimberly Slaughter said, explaining how she found daycare for her two children. It's how Slaughter met Tina Timberlake-Whitaker, the unlicensed daycare worker who admitted to police she hit Slaughter's 1-year-old daughter in the face several times.

"We looked on there (Craigslist) and she (Timberlake-Whitaker) said that she had good child care and she had many kids in her home, kind of like a mother."

What mother would put bruises on a child?

"Craigslist is an unusual place to go to find childcare," said Susan Vessels, the Executive Director of Community Coordinated Child Care or 4-C.

Unusual yes, but it's legal and you might be surprised how many people use the site for child care. How cheap does it get? We found an ad from someone in Louisville's Portland neighborhood offering day care for $10 a day.

Beth Fisher, the Public Information Officer for Kentucky's Health and Family Services said, "Just because providers are advertising doesn't mean they're legitimate," Fisher said, "Make sure you do your homework to find out whether they are."

Another red flag? How much Slaughter was paying Timberlake-Whitaker to keep her two children, "$60 a week," she said.

"If it sounds too good to be true, it is," Vessels said, "I just think the whole thing is terribly sad and more than a little horrifying."

Vessels said she understands child care can be expensive, but said there are no excuses. She said some 600 licensed and regulated childcare programs are offered in Jefferson County giving parents plenty of options.

In this case, neighbors said they were surprised a daycare was even operating on the property because of it's condition and there were several dogs at the home. Vessels said parents have to look for warning signs and said they should use a simple rule: Don't put your child anywhere you wouldn't want to be all day. She explained, "Walk in and look around and  say how does this smell, how does it look?"

Slaughter said she wished she had done more research and hopes other parents can learn from her experience.

Experts said to always use a licensed daycare provider unless it's someone you know and trust.

4-C can help you find one. It's a free service paid for by Metro United Way. 4-C can also put low income parents in touch with state programs offering financial help in some cases.

Call Community Coordinated Child Care at (502) 636-1358 or by clicking here.

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