State, local agencies offer child care research tips

La Petite Academy employee charged with production of child pornography

SAN ANTONIO – The detention hearing that was supposed to happen for a former child care employee accused of producing child pornography Thursday was rescheduled for Aug. 10.

Nicholas Gonzales-Malven, 29, faces charges for taking disturbing images of a child at a northwest side La Petite Academy and sending them to another man.

As a parent, it may be difficult to find people you trust with the care of your children. Fortunately, a state and local agency offered some tips.

"The very first thing you should do is go to our department website, www.txchildcaresearch.org," said Shawna Salazar, a Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Child Care Licensing Generalist.

The online database shows the licensed facility Gonzalez-Malven worked for was inspected 17 times in the last two years, which resulted in 19 violations.

Family Service is another resource for local families searching for the right child care.

"As a parent, I would encourage everyone to go out to the site," Claudia Castillo said. The Family Service infant and toddler education services manager recommends parents and caregivers ask questions about the people working at a child care center, including their background, education and length of employment.

Both Texas DFPS and Family Service offer day care checklists for people searching for a center.

"You need to make sure that whoever is taking care of your child, at a minimum, has had a background check," Salazar said.

Texas DFPS has 875 licensed child care centers in Bexar County.

When the director of communications for La Petite Academy was asked if the location at 6634 Springtime Drive was cited for not having an FBI background check on file for Gonzales-Malven, she sent the following statement via email:

We have received a notice from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. We are reviewing it as we conduct our internal investigation on the thoroughness of the background checks that have been conducted on recent new hires.