Parents, it is Your Turn to do Your Homework
The school year is almost over and summer time is quickly approaching. As their children finish the school year, parents across Florida are beginning to research summer camp offerings. The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is asking parents to do their homework when choosing a safe summer camp for children to attend.
“Summer is a time when parents have to take curriculum as well as safety into account when making summer camp selections.” Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll said. “It is very important for parents to thoroughly research prospective camps before signing their children up.”
Florida law requires all camp owners, operators, employees, and volunteers submit to background screens for state and federal criminal histories. In an effort to help parents, DCF publishes a list of summer camps that have reported state screening requirements on the department’s website. Additionally, parents should visit the summer camp in advance to meet staff, view activities, and find out information regarding child safety procedures.
Parents are also encouraged to create a list of questions that are relevant to making their selection. Examples include what the program’s health and safety policies and procedures are, what the staff to child ratio is, and how staff are trained in the case of a child emergency. The links below can assist with other ideas for questions.
Parents can find the camp listings and the complete summer camp checklist at www.myflfamilies.com/summercamps.
Though summer camps are not licensed or inspected by DCF, the department investigates complaints and concerns related to background screenings. If anyone has concerns that a summer camp is being operated without background screening of required employees, it can be reported to the department by calling 1-888-352-2842 or emailing [email protected] .