More than 100 unlicensed day cares in Mobile

(Source: WPMI) Local 15 News discovered Nazaree Daycare is one of more than 100 unlicensed facilities in Mobile County.

Police said a 5-year-old girl is lucky to be alive after she was accidentally left in a Nazaree Full Gospel Church day care van for about an hour on a hot summer day. Local 15 News learned the facility is not licensed and that is not uncommon. We also learned day cares associated with churches can be exempt which means the state does not regulate them.

Jovonda Rodgers said her daughter Jiya is blessed to be alive.

"It's a good daycare," said mom Rodgers. "I never had any problems with them but it could have cost my kid's life."

Local 15 News discovered Nazaree Daycare is one of more than 100 unlicensed facilities in Mobile County. According to the Department of Human Resources, day cares affiliated with religious organization can file for exemptions.

"In terms of day to day interactions with children, if it's not licensed the state of Alabama has no control over it," said Assistant District Attorney Nicki Patterson.

According to the state, licensed daycares require:

At least one staff person who is at least 19 years of age, who meets child care worker qualifications and has a current Infant-Child (Pediatric) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certificate (CPR) and a current First Aid Certificate shall be present during all hours of operation.

The staff to child should be as follows:

Staff to Child Ratio

0 up to 18 months 1 to 5
18 months up to 2½ years 1 to 7
24 months up to 36 months 1 to 8
2½ years up to 4 years 1 to 11
4 years up to school age* 1 to 18
School age* up to 8 years 1 to 21
8 years and older 1 to 22

"The state's not guaranteeing that, if the child is attending an unlicensed day care," said ADA Patterson.

Licensed facilities are subject to random state inspections too. That does not apply to exempt facilities.

"You know we'll get a complaint from someone and unless it rises to the level of a criminal action there's nothing we can do about it," said Patterson.

ADA Patterson said a number of unlicensed daycares voluntarily meet the state requirements.

"I'm not suggesting by any means that church day cares are bad," said ADA Patterson. "I'm just saying I think every parent needs to be familiar with what the requirements are and make sure the things that are important to you are being complied with."

She encourages parents to ask questions.

"How many people will be with my child? How many children will be there?," said Patterson. "Do you have FBI background checks on the people who will come in contact with my children? I think every parent has the right to know these things. "

Local 15 News reached out to Nazaree Full Gospel Church, and a representative declined our request for an interview.

Click HERE to see a full list of licensed and exempt daycare facilities.