Finding a daycare facility is a difficult and stressful task for parents. Even with diligent research, there is always that lingering thought, worrying if your child is truly safe in someone else’s hands. To ease the minds of moms and dads across the city, two lawmakers would like to see a daycare facility’s health and safety record more transparent.
The two New York State senators are asking the governor to make it mandatory for group daycare centers to display a letter grade on the front of their facilities, much like restaurants are currently required to do. This way, parents have an easier way of finding out if a center has been issued any violations.
The call for action comes after The Independent Democratic Conference released a study showing nearly 20,000 violations issued to group daycare centers in the five boroughs in just the last three years. An in-depth look at the data shows:
- Brooklyn saw the most violations overall (almost half of all recorded) and had the highest average number of violations per facility.
- In the past year, daycare centers were issued over 3,000 violations. Facilities in Brooklyn accounted for the most violations, followed by Manhattan and the Bronx.
- Close to half of all violations were considered critical, requiring they be addressed and corrected within a two week period. In these cases, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducts a follow-up visit to ensure the issues were properly dealt with.
- Looking at the programs with the most violations, half were cited for not conducting required criminal and safety background checks on staff members.
That final statistic is the most frightening, and it is only worse for children living in homeless shelters. An investigation by the City Controller into on-site child care centers in 43 homeless shelters found that 82 percent of the staff members looking after children were not subject to a criminal background check. Public childcare centers financially run by the city require workers to be fingerprinted and screened through a child abuse registry. As of October, over 23,500 children were residents in homeless shelters. The investigation also discovered childcare facilities in shelters often do not have the necessary permits and fall below safety standards.
Hopefully, a system will soon be in place where parents can easily and thoroughly obtain information on health and safety violations in daycare centers. This carelessness and possible lack of proper supervision could leave your child with a serious injury. If your child has been injured in a daycare center due to the negligence of others, please call the experienced and compassionate attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., today.