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TIGHTEN THE RULES FOR CAREGIVERS

To the editor:

I find it interesting to watch how the media work to bring issues into the light that otherwise might go unnoticed for long periods.The specific topic I am referring to is child abuse, especially by child-care workers. This is a problem that surfaces from time to time and never seems to go away. Suddenly, we are deluged by horror stories in connection with this deplorable crime.

It is good that these heinous crimes are exposed more fully when receiving increased attention by the public. It's a tragedy that more of these same deplorable activities will go undetected once the issue of child abuse again takes a back seat.

There are millions of Americans today who have no choice but to find responsible care for their child or children outside the home.

One option is to hire help, a nanny perhaps, to baby-sit within the home. But background checks of past employment and personal references are effective only to a small extent. What loving and caring parent can feel completely comfortable leaving a total stranger in their home to tend their children? So, the next logical answer would be some sort of day-care center.

These facilities are licensed by the state to do what they do and to charge money for it. What requirements are made of the actual caregivers? What sort of safety checks are in place to be sure these establishments are run effectively and honestly? What rules and guidelines have been set forth, and who enforces them? Sadly, several incidents involving child abuse while under a guardian's care have been reported in the media recently.

There must be some way to keep closer tabs on those who are responsible for our younger society members, more stringent background and security checks, more demanding requirements for those caregivers as far as education, degrees, experience, etc.

Steve Alldredge

Salt Lake City