Anonymous complaints about Georgia day cares can be made to Bright from the Start, the state agency that regulates day cares. It posts many of the complaint investigation reports on its Web site.
Some complaints aren’t posted because they were not substantiated, said Stacey Moore, Bright from the Start’s public relations director.
However, at least half the complaints posted online were also found to be unsubstantiated.
In Bibb and Houston counties, the largest number of the posted complaints for each of the past three years was related to food and nutrition, followed by activities, discipline and the number of adults supervising each child, a Telegraph analysis showed.
A complaint may be found “unsubstantiated” not only if the state finds it false, but if there is not enough evidence to tell (similar to an acquittal in a court of law).
In some cases, the state investigation appeared to consist solely of interviewing the day care director and concluding, based on her word, that the complaint was unsubstantiated.
Getting responses to specific questions about complaints can be difficult, though. Bright from the Start took weeks to locate complaint investigation documents that were partially missing online, and the agency was unable to locate records for one 2009 investigation at all.
It took weeks for the department to determine whether a particular day care had ever been licensed or inspected.
And at least one local day care had been erroneously removed from the state Web site when a center with a similar name closed in another county.
Complaints can be filed against day cares by calling Bright from the Start at (404) 657-5562.
To contact writer S. Heather Duncan, call 744-4225.