ALTOONA/CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisc. (WEAU) - Police scheduled a closed meeting with parents Wednesday after a former Altoona daycare worker was charged with having child porn.
The Altoona police chief said the suspect, Thomas West, 26, passed background checks and there's nothing the center could have done differently.
The charges may make some parents hesitant to bring their kids to child care centers, especially ones with male employees.
Chippewa Valley child care providers say the recent child porn charges have them on watch.
Josh Bowe is the owner and administrator of Monkey Business Early Educational Community in Chippewa Falls and Menomonie with around 200 children in its care.
He said the state may take a closer look at screening methods, but that his business has always had thorough policies and is one of few in the area to be accredited by the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs.
"We do multiple interviews before hiring ... we do a background check, we go online and look at their record ... After the second interview, give them floor time so we can watch their interactions," Bowe said.
With possible concerns and a lack of men in the business, Bowe said men can be held to higher standards and may be discouraged to go into the field, but can provide unique care for children.
"If a man applies (for a child care opening anywhere), there might be a little more screening that would occur, and I would hope that it would occur for all individuals, both male and female." "It's a little more prominent for men in our society to be on guard and put ourselves so that we're not put into situations that we shouldn't be in. And it's sad. It really is sad."
"Men are great for education as a whole. I think we bring a different aspect to the table, we're a little more active ... It also helps close the gap of our ever-rising single parent families," Bowe said.
Bowe said all parents need to look into a daycare center's screening methods and look for past violations from the state, before enrolling their children.