FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             FURTHER INFORMATION:
March 15, 2000                                                                                                                                     Patricia Harris-Morehead (615) 313-4707

DHS Adds New Toll-Free Child Care Licensing Complaint Line for Parents

NASHVILLE, TN- Licensing counselors in the Tennessee Department of Human Services Child Care Resource and Referral Office began operating a new complaint line earlier this month to give parents another resource to use to voice concerns about child care.

Parents or interested parties may call 1 800 462-8261 or (615) 313-4820 (Nashville Area) to file child care complaints or obtain information on choosing child care.

Complaint information will be entered into the state's child care computer and forwarded to the appropriate local licensing office for investigation.

"We want to be more accessible to the public. The toll free number will provide another tool for parents to express their child care concerns directly to us," state Human Services Commissioner Natasha Metcalf said.

Reports can be made anonymously to staff in the Resource and Referral Office or to the local licensing office.

Officials urge parents to contact them if they notice licensing violations such as not enough adults for the number of children present; children are left unsupervised; parents are discouraged from visiting; a facility is unsanitary or smells of urine; playground equipment is broken; caregivers are unresponsive or abusive to the children; or corporal punishment is used to discipline children.

"In addition, centralizing the complaint calls will give our licensing counselors more opportunities to visit facilities, provide more technical training to providers, and make sure they are in compliance with the state's child care standards," Metcalf added.

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