The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 19, 2012

Robin L. Quillon | Be circumspect when selecting child care

Robin L. Quillon
The Tribune-Democrat

— Many households face gut-wrenching decisions when both mother and father have to work outside the home:

* Who will babysit our precious children?

* In whose hands can we entrust our most prized possessions?

All parents at one time or another have stood at this crossroad.

If you are facing this important decision, I urge you to please be vigilant and give this decision your utmost attention. A hasty, convenient and quick decision could cost you and your children everything.

My heart goes out to the eight little girls who were sexually assaulted by their 62-year-old baby sitter. The  children ranged from 4 to 8 years old.

As reported by this newspaper, a Somerset man, John Wayne Hinton, has pleaded guilty before President Judge John M. Cascio. Sentencing is set for April.

I, for one, hope Judge Cascio puts this predator away for the maximum 60 years, to ensure no other child is ever assaulted by him.

I hope and pray for those children – they face a tenuous road to recovery.

I am reminded of Scripture, Matthew 18:6, which reads:

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones … it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” 

Our Heavenly Father takes very seriously the treatment of the little ones entrusted to mothers and fathers.

The National Center for Victims of Crime reports:

“Although child sexual abuse is reported almost 90,000 times a year, the numbers of unreported abuse is far greater because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened. (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2004).

“It is estimated that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will have experienced an episode of sexual abuse while younger than 18 years. The numbers of boys affected may be falsely low because of reporting techniques (Dr. Ann Botash, Pediatric Annual, May 1997).

“Sixty-seven percent of all victims of sexual assault reported to law-enforcement agencies were juveniles (under the age of 18); 34 percent of all victims were under age 12.

“One of every seven victims of sexual assault reported to law-enforcement agencies were under 6. Forty percent of the offenders who victimized children under age 6 were juveniles (under the age of 18). (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000).

“Most children are abused by someone they know and trust, although boys are more likely than girls to be abused outside of the family.

“A study in three states found 96 percent of reported rape survivors under age 12 knew their attackers. Four percent of the offenders were strangers, 20 percent were fathers, 16 percent were relatives and 50 percent were acquaintances or friends (Advocates for Youth, 1995).”

Here are some basic questions/tips I found on the Nannies for Hire website:

* What experience do you have with a child in the same age group as mine?

* Ask for references (very important!) that include past babysitting jobs that an applicant has had.

* Do you have any CPR training? Do you know what to do in case of an emergency involving my child?

* What is your philosophy on taking care of children?

* Let the child-care providers know that you will drop in unannounced from time to time. If they resist this, you might want to consider going somewhere else. Pop-ins will ensure what they said happens during their care actually happens.

* A daily schedule of activities should be posted and available for review. If your child has allergies or health issues, make sure smoking or pets are not present.

* Please do background checks on anyone hired to watch your children or who might be residing in the home where care is given.

The laws in Pennsylvania are very clear concerning private baby sitters or in-home providers, and it is important for a parent to be aware of these laws.

The number of children a caregiver can watch without being certified by the Department of Public Welfare is three. Beyond that, they

must have licenses and be certified.

If you must seek child care, be as guarded and ferocious as a pride of lions are of their cubs! 

Robin L. Quillon is publisher of The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at


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