NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE
ARLINGTON -- State regulators busted an illegal day care center in Arlington Tuesday.
Julie Swayne is part of a new, seven-person unit looking for day care businesses operating without permits. News 8 was there when she went to check out All My Youngunz in Arlington.
'We are here because we got a complaint about an illegal day care being run out of this location,' Swayne told the woman who opened the door.
Illegal day care centers are a big problem.
'A lot of parents can't afford regular child care, and [are] looking for people who can provide cheaper child care for them,' Swayne said.
The woman operating All My Youngunz was taking care of seven children, including babies. She was charging $75 a week, but she is not licensed.
News 8 watched as regulators shut down the facility and called parents to come get their children. They say unlicensed day care centers are potentially dangerous.
'A lot of them are in homes; sometimes they are in other locations; but what they are looking for, specifically, is people who have not been permitted, don't have any kind of training or any kind of background check; and still advertising to take care of kids,' said Marissa Gonzales, a spokesman for the State Child Care Licensing Division of Child Protective Services.
The new unit hunting for illegal day care centers searches social media for ads. In one case, a person was offering to care of children for free in exchange for dental work.
'Every day is different, so you don't know what is going to happen when you knock on the door,' Gonzales said.
At another location, Swayne said the proprietor was bold enough to advertise on Craigslist that she wasn't certified, but would take care of children anyway.
'So is child care different from babysitting?' the woman asked Swayne.
'If you are doing it in your home on a regular basis for compensation, then yes, it's considered child care,' she replied.
Since the unit began back in November, they've shut down 700 illegal day care facilities in the North Texas area alone, and they expect to shut down hundreds more by end of the year.
In some cases, people are intentionally trying to get around the law and make tax-free money off children and their desperate parents, but in other cases, day care operators simply don't realize that a permit is required.
At one home, regulators found a woman taking care of 34 children and charging parents $10 a day. It's estimated she made more than $90,000 a year.
The woman's daughter told News 8 her mother didn't know she needed a permit.
'She thought when she saw on television that she could have children in her home, she thought it was OK.' Natalie Carrizales said.
State regulators say parents need to do their homework and background checks on any day care center. They say your child's safety depends on it.