Child advocates said they hope the death of 9-year-old Aliahna Lemmon sends a strong message to parents who let others care for their children.
Lemmon was in the care of her baby sitter, Michael Plumadore, 39, before she was killed and dismembered at a mobile home park
in Fort Wayne.
Plumadore was not a sex offender, but had a criminal record for assault, RTV6's Kara Kenney
Advocates with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana said theyre using the Fort Wayne tragedy to educate parents on how to choose a trusted baby sitter.
Sandy Runkle, programs director for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, said parents often turn to the people they know best to watch their children--namely friends, relatives, and neighbors--which may not always be the best choice, RTV6's Kara Kenney
"Typically when something happens to a child, it is by someone the child knows; it is not a stranger," Runkle said. "In (more than) 90 percent of sexual abuse cases, the children know the perpetrator."
Child advocates advised parents to check baby sitters references, criminal background and the sex offender registry
before entrusting their child in their care.
"It's like any job interview. You get references, do the research and observe the person. It's kind of like a probation period, Runkle said.
But Runkle warned that although parents can diminish the risk, it can never be eliminated.
"Nothing is 100 percent foolproof," she said. "There are also parents who abuse their children, so that's not even 100 percent foolproof."
For parents looking for a certified baby sitter, call the states referral hotline, Child Care Answers, at 317-636-5727, or click here
for more information.
To view of a list of state-certified day cares, click here.
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