Day-care centers outside New York City had about 7,000 violations over the past two years with limited enforcement from the state, a review today by the Senate Independent Democratic Conference charged.
The four-member conference contended that state regulators aren’t doing enough to crack down on violations at the nearly 1,600 day-care facilities. The number of violations averaged about four per facility.
The report cited two Binghamton-area centers as having the most violations in the state from May 2011 through earlier this month: Kurious Kids Childcare & Play Center in the city had 71, and the Jewish Community Center Early Childhood Center in Vestal had 70.
The report cited two Rochester-area centers — the Wilson Commencement Park in the city and KinderCare Learning in Webster — as having some of the more egregious complaints, including charges of corporal punishment, the report said, based on a review of records from the state Office of Children and Family Services.
“The current state of oversight and enforcement at New York state day-care centers is simply unacceptable,” said Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, who represents parts of Westchester County and heads the IDC. “When a parent drops their child off at daycare, they deserve to have peace of mind.”
Some day-care providers said the violations were minor, and the state disputed the report’s findings.
The Office of Children and Family Services said it has 400 inspectors who conduct announced and surprise visits to the centers, and its website provides nearly up-to-date information on violations. Serious offenses can lead to suspension of a license or revocation, the agency said, but the enforcement actions are not noted on the website — only the violations.
In the instances of alleged corporal punishment in Monroe County, workers were fired or suspended, and staff faced additional training, the agency said.
“This report took one portion of our regulatory program out of context and is alarmingly misleading for parents in this state,” said Jennifer Givner, the agency’s spokeswoman. “The health and safety of New York state’s more than 500,000 children in child care is paramount to OCFS, and we have a rigorous inspection and enforcement process to hold providers accountable for compliance.”