Wisconsin now posting child care fines and violations online

Published On: Mar 05 2013 06:13:52 PM CST   Updated On: Mar 05 2013 06:27:11 PM CST
LA CROSSE CO., Wis, -

Parents always want what's best for their children and there’s no exception when it comes to choosing a day care provider.

Now, to help parents, the state is posting detailed information online about citations and fines against child care centers.

About five years ago, the state started posting some information online about citations and fines, but didn’t post the details or reasons behind those violations until now.

As a mom and who also works a full-time job, Dawn Gilhausen decided day care was the best option for her two kids, but not just any day care would do.

“Finding a day care was hard,” said Gilhausen. “It was a big decision to make just because we wanted the right place for our kids.”

Gilhausen said one of the biggest things she looked for was citations.

But when she first started looking about five years ago, a web search couldn't really find the information she wanted.

“You could walk into a building, you could talk to the owners and the providers and just hope that everyone was going to be honest with you,” said Gilhausen.

Now the state of Wisconsin is making that information more accessible on a state website.

With a simple search, the site brings up a list of all the day care providers in the area.

Clicking any one of them will provide detailed information and reasoning behind any citations or violations issued to the center in the last two years.

The owner of the Children's Tree House Day Care Center in Onalaska, Natasha Remis, said knowing how minor or severe the violation was will greatly help parents in finding the right day care center for them, but it shouldn't be the only thing they rely on.

“A cite or a violation is a cite or a violation, but coming into the center and meeting those faces and getting to know who's going to be caring for your children, that speaks volumes,” said Remis.

And after a lot of research and visits, Gilhausen decided on the Tree House for her kids, a decision she hasn't looked back on since.

“I need to come to work every day, and I need to not worry about where my children are, and at the Tree House I don't have to worry about that,” said Gilhausen.

Even though website only lists information about citations and fines from the two most recent years, Remis said day care centers are required by the state to keep records for up to seven years, if not more.

To check on how your child care provider measures up, head to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website.