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July 2022

Graduate keeping children safe as investigator

As a grandparent, Alex McAdoo has a natural concern for the health and safety of children. He’s also spent a lifetime trying to secure that, holding roles as physical education teacher and working in parks and recreation. But his current job has probably the heaviest weight in that aspect.

For two years now, Alex has served as an investigator with the State of Texas, specifically dealing with child care facilities. Housed under the Department of Health and Human Services, the role has him covering a 15-county region across the Texas South Plains to ensure that children are in the best care.

“Safety is the number one thing: are the children in care of these teachers or this center safe? That

Alex at booth
McAdoo educates on child care

is the number one thing we look for,” explains Alex, a 1991 graduate of the Plainview campus. “There are minimum standards in various categories, so we go in and make sure they are at least meeting those minimum standards and minimize the risk to children.”

While child care is Alex’s main concern, his laser focus is on unregulated facilities, many of which are in private homes. And while some may believe those ventures do not require the state’s intervention, Alex is quick to correct that myth.

“The State of Texas is pretty strict with requirements for caring for children in setting that are not their home, whether that is a daycare facility or a daycare in someone’s home,” Alex explains. “The law says if you care for one unrelated child in your home on a regular basis, you need a listed permit, and you can have up to three on that permit. A registered facility permit allows you to have up to six children during the day and an additional six during after-school hours. In a fully licensed home, you can have 12 children during any time of the day, which includes your own children.

Keeping children safe

Alex said during the pandemic when many children were at home with parents who shifted to working from home, many daycare facilities closed their doors. Parents who were not working at home found alternative options, and home care is a common choice. But putting children in a permitted facility makes a difference.

The higher the level of permitting – listed is the minimum, licensed is the maximum – the more stringent the requirements are for the day care in terms of training required and safety measures, noted Alex. All registered and licensed in-home daycare facilities receive random, unannounced inspections by the state just like free-standing childcare facilities, but the lower levels do not get them as often.

“When they don’t have the required permit to operate, that’s a red flag. We don’t know what’s going on in there. A lot of times they fly under the radar until we find out about them,” Alex says, noting that reports come from a variety of sources. “The first thing I look for is a permit, and if they have a permit, then our monitoring unit conducts the inspection or investigation. The facilities that do not have a permit, I can walk them through the process of getting one. The first thing is to determine if the children are in a safe environment to be able to allow the care to continue until the paperwork is done.  If the environment is deemed unsafe then childcare services are ceased. You never know what you’re going to find until you get there.”

Seeing the big picture

Alex relies on his education background to help well-meaning child care providers come into compliance, and he says that is often a simple paperwork filing and a nominal fee involved. The most vital thing that the state provides for those listed facilities, he notes, is active monitoring of registered sex offenders to ensure they do not reside nearby.

Alex McAdooOverall, Alex’s role is to help prevent unnecessary heartache for parents when children are in unpermitted care. He noted that some of the last statistics recorded 88 deaths of children in daycare centers, and 42 of those were in unregulated facilities.

“Several of those deaths were things that they didn’t have the training that we require that could potentially have prevented it from happening if they had known,” he said. “I have worked with children for years, and I love knowing they are in the safest place possible. That doesn’t mean accidents won’t happen, but we’re striving to educate parents and caregivers on best practices and how to prevent things. It’s still teaching, and that’s rewarding.”

The role is mostly mobile with regular travel to investigate the reports he receives, but Alex is based in Lubbock and has to spend some office hours from time to time. He said the job appealed to him for several reasons, the primary being a flexible schedule that allows him to spend plenty of time with his five grandchildren.

He also enjoys the flexibility to keep his side gig as an adjunct instructor in exercise and sports science for his alma mater, serving Wayland’s Lubbock campus since 2007 and providing a rotating schedule of classes including Concepts of Fitness, Walking and Jogging, Bowling and Foundations of Health and Wellness. He loves the interaction with WBU students, and around 90 percent of those in Lubbock come through his courses at some point.

All roads lead home

Alex’s path to the state position is winding. A native of Plainview, he felt it was most economically

Alex McAdoo class
Alex gives a lecture at WBU.

feasible and convenient to attend Wayland and stay close to family. While there, he dabbled in track and basketball but felt out of his league. He also cheered for a year. He earned his degree in physical education in 1991 but went into retail management chasing the paychecks. He figured out quickly that wasn’t his future and reached out to his former high school coach, Greg Sherwood, who was now the athletic director in Lubbock.

Sherwood hired Alex as a game manager, overseeing the officials and aspects of the games for

Lubbock ISD, and he enrolled in graduate school at Texas Tech shortly after moving to Lubbock. After earning that degree in 1994, Alex moved around the Hill Country taking jobs in parks and recreation, YMCAs or youth sports before heading back to the area to be closer to his family. He worked in San Angelo, then at South Plains College in Levelland as intramurals coordinator and instructor in exercise and sports science.

Several years later, Alex would jump into the director’s chair of a child care center in Lubbock, the same one his grandchildren attended. It was a beautiful melding of his roles for seven years, then as the youngest was heading to kindergarten, he felt it was time to move on.

Today, he enjoys coaching two grandsons on a youth basketball team, watching a granddaughter enjoy softball and cherishing time with the entire family. He has a son in Tulia, one in the Army in Maryland and a daughter in Lubbock. He is an active volunteer on the Juneteenth committee in Lubbock, has served on city parks and rec boards, serves as PTA President at an elementary school, and attends Full Armor Ministries with Bishop Leonard Chatham of Plainview.

 

Devotional: Full armor is vital dress

Read Ephesians 5:10-17.

The “armor of God” uses the picture of the gear of a Roman soldier, at that time, the best equipped fighting force in the world. The defensive armor in these verses includes five components: Truth, righteousness, peace, faith and salvation. The only offensive weapon listed is “the Word of God” (the Bible). Jesus Himself is also called the “Word” in John 1.

Let’s observe....What do these have in common? What is different? The defensive pieces are all imparted to us by God! We can’t produce any of these things on our own power! Armor

On our own, our truth is based on our limited perspective, our righteousness falls short, our peace is subject to our circumstances, our faith extends either to what we can see or to wishful thinking, and our salvation is impossible! So, in putting these pieces on, we admit our shortcomings in each area and accept God’s perfect version! We accept not only Jesus’ death for our sins, but we take up and put on His truth, His righteousness, His peace, His faith and His salvation!

The only offensive weapon is the Word of God. God doesn’t impart this one to us like He does all the defensive ones. He provides it. We have to pick it up and read it. It’s the only way we can genuinely know God. Let me be blunt....Is the Church toothless and weak? It’s because the vast majority of believers refuse to put on the armor of God, especially the offensive part!!!

The more I talk with believers, the more I realize how rare it is for us to read and know scripture. Yes, it takes work and discipline. But, we can’t honestly say that knowing God is important to us if we won’t even pick our Bible up and read it! It’s way more than just something we know we “should” do. It’s vital.

It isn’t your church’s responsibility to teach us the Bible. It’s our own, personal responsibility. 

Think about it. Even in churches that systematically preach through the Bible (which many churches teach topically, not systematically through the whole Bible ), if they teach one chapter a week (which is impossible to completely cover everything in a chapter in just an hour on Sundays), and even if you never miss a single service, it would take over 20 years to get through the entire Bible at that rate!

Don’t go through life unequipped! Don’t go into spiritual battle naked! Let’s make sure our Bibles get studied and get to know God well!

Jon Mark Hester is a 2001 graduate of Wayland and is worship leader at Regenerations Ministries based in Plainview. working camps, retreats, churches and other opportunities to share the love of Jesus. He and wife Hillary, a 2002 graduate, have five children: Elisha, 16; Hannah, 13; Leah, 11; Jonathan, 7; and Ezra, 2.

 

From the History Files

This month's history recap continues a series of anecdotal memories shared in The Wayland Century, a coffeetable book published during our Centennial celebration in 2009. The following memories were shared by Marsha Hutcherson George, daughter of longtime supporters Claude and Wilda Hutcherson. George died in December 2006.

"After Plainview High School, I attended Wayland and became a member of the International Choir. My costume was a Romanian peasant and I was thrilled to be a part of such a renowned group. I was a music major with a minor in speech. I took piano and voice lessons and became involved in 

Marsha George

campus life. I represented the Science Club as a Homecoming Queen candidate and got one of the leads in the homecoming play. It was a busy first semester and things began to change pretty fast. 

"I became engaged in late October. Things never slowed down, and I set my wedding date to January, between semesters. I married Jack George from Kress in a home wedding, and many things were not as we had planned. First off, Dr. Bill Marshall, president of Wayland, was to perform and ceremony, and he had emergency surgery in New York. Dr. Martin Landers, my speech professor, filled in. Then, to top it off, my dad Claude got snowed in at Kansas City, Mo., with the Flying Queens, the first time to be weathered in since he began sponsoring the team. So my uncle, Jimmy Seipp, stood in for my dad and we got married.

"As an adult, I was very involved with Wayland and the Flying Queens. I worked at every home game for many years for both the Queens Court and the Pioneer Booster Club, selling posters, press guides and t-shirts. I fed both teams and the booster clubs after games and worked every Queens Classic Tournament until health reasons prevented it."

Marsha received the Roy C. McClung Award two different years for her service and support.

 

 

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