JACKSONVILLE Fla.-- You can find them on Craigslist and even right next door; Childcare centers that are operating without a license and the Department of Children and Families in Jacksonville tells Action News they're putting local children at risk.
"They have not gone through the proper background screenings to make sure their employees are trained to work with children, that they don't have any violations are far as any child abuse convictions or any serious crimes," said DCF spokesperson, John Harrell.
Action News found them all over town in Mandarin, Arlington and even in Orange Park according to DCF records.
Harrell says it can be a matter of life and death.
"We've had children die in these facilities and homes that are operating without a license," he said.
DCF says they're difficult to track down because they often change location but Action News set out to find them.
Almost none of them answered their doors but Kathy Abbett did, and even admitted to running an unlicensed daycare.
"I've been doing it for several years and I thought I was licensed but I kind of fell through the cracks," she said.
But since DCF had approached her she says she's working towards getting her license.
"Probably in the next two to four weeks," she said.
DCF says they need your help to find me centers and to protect our children.
Some of the centers have gained their popularity because people think they are cheaper but DCF says they can recommend other affordable options.
"All children's lives are priceless and you can't put a price on child safety," said Harrell.
If you have a concern about a local child care operation, contact DCF.