A look into daycare safety after 3-year-old abuse case

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A case of daycare abuse has led to some questions about how parents can know if their kids are safe while they’re at work.

District Attorney Mike Kagay charged Kyle Scott with aggravated indecent liberties with a child and lewd and lascivious conduct, for abusing a 3-year-old at an in-home daycare on Southwest 18th Terrace in Topeka.

Kagay said the three-year-old was the only one being cared for there and they don’t believe any other children were abused by Scott.

“I myself have children, so I understand the concern that parents would have in a situation like this,” Kagay said. “I can assure you if I thought there was anything there or if I thought public safety was at risk in any way related to any child in our community you would know about it.”

He also said the daycare was unlicensed, so it didn’t have to meet the state’s safety standards.

People who want to run licensed daycares from their home have to go through a ton of different steps for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to license them. That license helps parents know their child is in a safe place.

Melanie Searan has been running a daycare from her Topeka home for more than a decade now. She’s had to go through background checks, safety training, and several check ups to get certification from the state.

“It can be a little bit of a headache but it’s definitely worth it to run a quality program,” Searan said.

The Shawnee County Health Department helps KDHE do licensing in the area. Spokesman Craig Barnes said their focus is on safety.

“It’s really important for the public to know that we are following mandated statues from our state’s health and environment office to make sure that child care facilities are the safest that they possibly can be,” Barnes said.

For Searan her license is a point of pride and she displays it right next to her door, where parents can see it.

“It’s the first thing I show them when they come to interview. I point out every little thing. I explain every little thing, and what every little thing means,” Searan said.

It’s all part of building a relationship where the parents can trust her.

“When a parent goes to work, they can go to work knowing their child is with somebody safe, they’re not going to be hurt. They can go to work, do what they need to do and they can come get their child and know they’re in a happy safe environment,” Searan said.

You can check daycare licenses online here. You can also check into any violations from a specific daycare here.

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