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 May 24th, 2012  
St. Lucie County Sheriff gives safety tips to parents for selecting a summer camp or daycare facility for their children
With summer just around the corner, many St. Lucie County families will be looking for summer camp and daycare activities. “There are many safe and top quality programs available and we want to promote the well-being of our most important asset, our children,” says Sheriff Ken Mascara.

Florida law requires all summer camp owners, operators, employees, and volunteers that assist more than 10 hours per month comply with background screening. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a summer camp or day care for your children.

- Are background checks required for all facility directors, staff, and volunteers?

- What are the qualifications and experience of staff who will be working directly with your child?

- Does the program have emergency policies and procedures? What are they?

- Are employees trained in CPR / First Aid?

Parents are also encouraged to visit the program, if possible, and attend activities with your child. Talk to your children daily about their experiences.

Parents should pay attention to the following factors which may indicate problems.

- Child doesn’t want to go to camp/daycare

- Child doesn’t want to be near a specific teacher/person

- Child experiencing withdraw

- Child acting out or showing unusual behaviors

Sheriff Mascara says that parents should not be immediately alarmed if these behaviors are observed but should talk with their children to determine if there is a problem. Parents who suspect any criminal activity are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency.

"If parents have concerns, they can contact the Sex Offender Unit of the Sheriff's Office at  772-462-3793," Sheriff Mascara said.

Parents with security questions or concerns regarding background checks should contact the Florida Department of Children and Families at 888-352-2842.

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