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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There’s more evidence that inexpensive and easy to find child care may not be the safest.

Late last year, a one-year-old died at a Memphis home, daycare that didn’t have a license.

Police ruled it an accident.

Sometimes you don’t hear about their stories, but there are kids dying across the country in places parents trust to keep their children safe.

“You don’t hear about them until something goes wrong,” says Kay Von Boeckman, owner of Bartlett Child Care.

We’re talking about deaths at day cares, in facilities flying under the radar.

It’s happened in Virginia, Massachusetts and right here in the MidSouth.

Day care facility not licensed with state

A baby shaken to death, another found lifeless in a play pen, and a three-month-old smothered under a pillow.

Some of the cases led to murder charges; the others were considered accidents, but the common thread is all the fatalities happened at unlicensed day cares.

Washington Post investigation finds 43 deaths at unlicensed centers in Virginia

“They don’t have to meet any specific criteria because no one is monitoring that,” explains Von Boeckman.

Von Boeckman has been in the child care business for almost 30 years, and serves on an advisory council for Tennessee.

According to Tennessee Department of Human Services rules, not every day care needs a license.

Those where the caregiver watches four or fewer kids who aren’t related, places that operate less than three hours a day and Mother’s Day Out programs are examples.

Von Boeckman said there are plenty of good people watching kids in unregulated day cares, but not choosing wisely comes with a risk.

“You don’t have any background checks, you don’t have anybody coming in for fire, you don’t have anybody coming from the health department.”

Kayla Page and her husband are expecting twins.

She said a large, traditional day care is too expensive, so they’re looking for an alternative.

“We’ve kind of branched out and tried to find people in our neighborhood, at our church,” she told WREG.

Even turning to websites about nannies for information.

Like every mom-to-be, Page is worried about her options.

“It’s scary because I don’t exactly know what to do,” she said.

The On Your Side Investigators have shown problems exist even at regulated facilities.

Watch: Day Care Dangers

But, trouble typically arises at unregulated day cares trying to get around the rules.

“I’ve heard some stories and gotten some children from home centers where they’re supposed to be keeping three or four, and they may be keeping 15 or more,” Von Boeckman said.

That’s exactly what Memphis Police told WREG was happening at, Miss Pam’s Home Day Care, the center where a one-year-boy died last November.

They believed Pamela Barkley was caring for up to 14 kids at the home.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services doesn’t keep track of unregulated day cares or fatalities in those centers.

It could only tell WREG there have been five deaths in Tennessee at licensed day cares since 2008.

“The Department of Human Services Child Care Licensing program is tasked primarily with ensuring licensed facilities are in compliance with child care rules and regulations,” said Stephanie Jarnigan, Chief Public Information and Legislative Officer for DHS.

Jarnigan told WREG it only investigates unlicensed day cares if there’s an allegation of the center operating illegally.

In the case of Miss Pam’s Home Day Care, there wasn’t a full investigation.

Jarnigan said DHS staffers never spoke to Barkley after the fatality.

She said a program evaluator went by the house more than once, but nobody answered.

It didn’t take WREG very long to find Barkley at her other home.

Barkley walked away, her husband said no comment.

Jarnigan said after the incident and attempting to get in touch with Barkley, a lawyer called DHS and advised Barkley was closed wouldn’t be attempting to operate any more.

“I personally wish there was a little more monitoring going on with them,” Von Boeckman said in general.

A new federal law requires greater oversight in day cares, including specific provisions related unlicensed facilities.

Starting later this year, states must track deaths at child care centers getting certain federal funding, including a notation of whether the facility has a license or is exempt.

Von Boeckman said parents looking at smaller, unlicensed settings should visit the caregiver, pay close attention to the settings, request references, and ask who else will be around the child.

“Do they have grown children, do they have other people who live in the house, so there’s a lot of things to be considered.”

Page said that’s exactly what she plans to do.

“I definitely want to talk to these people,” Page said.  “I want to get some references, really just pray about it and pray they’re a good fit for our family.”

The Department of Children’s Services and the Department of Health also track child deaths, but not in a method that would allow for extracting data for “unlicensed” or “unregulated” day cares.

DCS also investigated the fatality at Barkley’s home day care as it does all child deaths.

That report is still pending.

Child Care Aware Report.