Seven-year-old Sophie Hill doesn't like to wear tight necklaces. Her parents say she developed this sensitivity two years ago after surviving an accidental hanging at her day care center. On Jan. 17, 2006, Sophie was on the playground with other children at Gateway Academy in Charleston when she wrapped a piece of landscape fabric around her neck and headed down a slide. ...
A state task force on child care is expected to recommend in an upcoming report to the General Assembly that South Carolina adopt a rating system for child care facilities. Unlike a similar proposal that failed three years ago, this latest version has backing from the child care industry, including Shannon Erickson, a day care owner who recently won election to the Legislature.
Day care centers are on the front lines of a looming battle to better prepare children for school. Experts say a bad child care experience can hardwire poor social and learning skills and set up children for failure even before they turn 5 years old.
South Carolina mandates only minimum requirements for child care centers. But the state agency charged with enforcing those rules lacks the power and money to enforce health, safety and preschool education standards.