Deceptive child care ads not welcome

Published 1:40 pm Sunday, June 16, 2019

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The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS), Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery and the Division of Consumer Affairs of the Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCA) are working together to protect parents from misleading advertising by unlicensed day care operations.

In recent years many unlicensed day care providers have increasingly used websites like to advertise their services. These websites leave it up to parents to research whether a particular advertisement is from a licensed child care agency. But in some cases, the providers falsely claim to be state licensed.

TDHS, DCA and the Attorney General’s Office have been conducting an industry-wide investigation of online child care advertisements. These efforts include a letter from Attorney General Slatery to, Inc. to bring these misleading child care ads to’s attention and seek their help in addressing this problem. Tennessee is encouraging to work with the Attorney General’s Office and TDHS to take a proactive approach to stopping unlicensed child care ads.

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“We have reached out to, Inc. to seek their help addressing the growing problem of child injuries and fatalities at child care facilities that falsely claim to be state licensed,” said Herbert H. Slatery III. “ has responded with a willingness to work with us to confront this issue.”

In Tennessee, child care providers who provide care for more than 4 unrelated children at a time for 3 or more hours a day must obtain a license from TDHS to do so. This licensing process includes extensive background checks, educational requirements and unannounced visits.

“The licensing process is designed to promote early childhood environments that are safe, healthy and educationally rich,” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “This partnership with Attorney General Slatery will help ensure parents aren’t misled into believing their children are cared for in licensed child care agencies when that is not the case.”

Tennessee has more than 4,000 child care agencies that are regulated through either the Department of Human Services or the Department of Education.

Parents are encouraged to log on to the website at to find a licensed child care agency close to them.

Find tips for selecting a child care program and learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at