School's out and that means many parents are putting kids in camps. But how do you know which ones will keep your kids safe?
Places that offer summer day camps for kids entertainment are exempt from needing a license. This means they do not have to meet sanitation, health or fire standards and don't have regulations about staff or child ratios (the ratio of adults or teachers to kids).
The Y Summer Day Camp program in Joplin is registered with the state of Missouri, is certified, and keeps its ratio to one adult for 10 ten kids. It's counselors are never in one-to-one situations with children and are all CPR and first aid certified. Staff also undergo background checks.
"Really the safety of their child, what it comes down to is how many staff are in that child care facility and what does the staff have to go through to even work there," says Mallorie Larson, the YMCA Summer Day Camp Director.
If a church camp or summer educational camp doesn't have certifications experts say parents must ask questions.
"I would want to know whether or not the teachers have gone through background checks, I would want to know if the staff is certified in emergency procedures," says Kathi Olson, Executive Director of the Children's Center.
Another important question to ask is about the camp's discipline policy and is it different for a six year old compared to a 12 year old.
Also, ask for referrals.
This might surprise some people but state experts say parents can get the names of the director and staff and do their own background check by searching Missouri CaseNet and the sex offender registry.
But, again, the biggest advice is to ask questions.