Sunday, February 14, 2016

Law would publicize daycare inspection reports

By Sarina Trangle

State Sen. Jeff Klein has introduced a bill that would require early childcare providers to post their latest health inspection reports on the premises as a way of shaming them into addressing violations. 

A report recently released by Mr. Klein’s Independent Democratic Conference found that early childcare centers overseen by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene were repeatedly cited for the same serious health code violations.

The Department of Health lacked meaningful oversight, the report said, and noted that since 2008 it had not suspended or revoked the license of a single one of the 2,163 facilities operating in the city. 

Veronica Lewin, a press representative for the Department of Health, said the IDC report “grossly mischaracterizes” the city’s inspection process. 

Mr. Klein declined to comment for this story. 

“Senator Klein unfortunately won’t be available to comment,” a spokesperson for Mr. Klein wrote in an e-mail. 

On average, daycare centers have accumulated a dozen violations apiece since 2010. 

Violations range from not having an individual space for each child to store his or her outdoor gear to a lack of constant and competent supervision.

During the past three years, the 22 centers in the Riverdale/Kingsbridge area have received an average of 13 violations. Although few had open violations as of press time, 64 percent of providers have been written up for the same offense multiple times since 2010.

While the IDC views repeat offenses as an indication that fines and check-ups are insufficient, providers say posting inspections would confuse parents with health code jargon and they complain that the documents do not accurately depict the centers.

For example, inspectors have cited Susan E. Wagner Day School at Riverdale for more than 50 violations, 43 of which were repeated offenses, since 2010. 

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