Smile, you're on camera
A new Medford child care center offers working parents a way to keep an eye on their children — from their office computer.
Genevieve's Childcare & Development Center, which opened earlier this month at 1104 E. Jackson St. in Medford, mounted cameras in each room so parents can watch secure, encrypted, live streaming video of their children while they're at work.
The cameras were installed on Tuesday, said owner Angela Reynoso.
The idea of live streaming video in child care isn't new, but it hasn't yet caught on in Southern Oregon, Reynoso said.
Reynoso found there was a need for such a service when she sought child care for her 2-year-old daughter in order to spend more time on her family's janitorial business.
The 30-year-old child care provider said she first saw child care centers with cameras in San Francisco and loved the concept.
"It gives parents peace of mind and security, but it also gives parents a connection with their children during the day," Reynoso said.
Hearing about cases of abuse at child care centers in the news and from associates convinced her of the need for more child care centers with cameras, she said.
That led to the decision to open her own center, drawing from her 10 years' experience in mostly home child care in Missouri and California and in home child care in Medford, she said.
"I take my trust issues into consideration and try to make something that will please even the pickiest parent," Reynoso said. "I want to give people what I would expect. Standards are really high for me."
As a boss, she likes the idea of being able to check on what's happening at the center when she's not there, she said.
Medford resident Rosio Rivera, whose niece allegedly was abused by a caregiver, said she chose Genevieve's because of the cameras.
About six years ago, Rivera's sister was looking for child care and asked Rivera for a suggestion. Rivera recommended a woman who had been caring for her own 1-year-old daughter.
Rivera's sister took her advice and signed up her daughter.
One day, her sister went to the child care center to pick up her daughter and found her strapped in a high chair and bleeding from her face and arms, Rivera said. The caregiver claimed other children had bitten the girl, Rivera said. The provider eventually lost her license for not taking a medication prescribed to her for a mental health condition, but she was never prosecuted for what happened to Rivera's niece, Rivera said.
"It just freaked me out because the lady was so nice and loved my daughter," Rivera said.
Seven small cameras, mounted on walls, monitor the small center, which includes a common room/lobby, an infant room, a sleep room, a group activity room for ages 2 to 6, an art room and an office, Reynoso said.
Parents can watch their children on streaming video by visiting www.parentwatch.com and punching in a unique user name and pass code. Parents may give access to other family members, such as grandparents.
"It's a good way for grandparents, especially those who live far away, to stay connected," Reynoso said.
Central Point resident Reyvan Leffler signed up her 1-year-old son for Genevieve's and also works as an assistant at the center.
"Instead of calling, you can just jump online," Leffler said. "I thought that was wonderful."
Genevieve's is starting out small, with 15 spaces for children age 6 months to 6 years. Reynoso said she envisions expanding the center in the future as demand grows, possibly opening centers in Ashland and Central Point.
The center is licensed by the state Child Care Division. All teachers meet or exceed the state licensing requirement in early childhood education. There is a 3-to-1 ratio for children younger than 24 months and a 5-to-1 ratio for 2 years old and older, Reynoso said.
Costs range from $200 per week and $800 per month for ages 6 weeks to 2 years, $148 per week or $592 per month for age 2 to 6 years.
For more information, call 541-973-2007 or visit www.gennyscenter.com.
Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.