NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Child-care centers in New York City will soon get “performance summary cards” to hang in their businesses.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that 2,300 child-care centers will be required to post the cards near their entrances.
Information on the cards will include the number of children allowed at the facility, the number of health code violations compared with the citywide average and the number of times the program has been suspended in the last three years. At the top of the report card is the day care center’s license number. Klein says that way parents will know the center is indeed licensed.
They won’t include a single letter grade like the ones displayed at restaurants, CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported.
State Sen. Jeff Klein, the driving force behind the new initiative, said New Yorkers often have more information about where they’re eating than they do about where their kids go to day care.
Klein came up with the system after doing an undercover investigation into health and safety issues at day care centers.
“Unbeknownst to most parents, you had day care centers that were racking up hundreds and hundreds of violations every day,” Klein said. “We found a lack of criminal background checks among the workers at day care centers. We found in some cases toxic material covering floors, lack of ventilation, overcrowding.”
Other than post the report cards prominently, child-care centers don’t have to do anything to operate differently, unless they want to make changes that’ll earn them better numbers.
But Klein said the performance cards will empower parents, giving them the information they need to find a safe place for their children, WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported.
“They will now determine whether or not they want to go to their local day care center or choose another one, and I think it’s going to be the survival of the fittest,” Klein said.
The city Health Department will implement the program. The performance cards should be in place by next summer.
The Health Department has issued letter grades to restaurants since 2010. Department officials say that as with restaurants, posting the inspection information will spur child-care centers to improve their performance.
The requirement will not apply to family-based child-care sites.
At New York Kids Club on the Upper West Side, where some of the little ones were working on their gymnastics Friday, management is embracing the report card concept. It wants to show that its stats are competitive.
District Manager Katie Cochran said there’s important information for parents in what health inspectors look for.
“These are things that you might not necessarily think of when you’re looking for a preschool — all of the accreditations for our teachers, the temperature of our fridge, the safety locks on all of our equipment and doors,” she told Rincon.
Parents like the idea, too.
“There’s transparency in terms of what you’re getting and where you’re going to put your children,” said Barbara Nusbaum, a mom.
“It’s important to know behind the scenes when you’re not there, are they following through with those things, or what’s really happening?” said Melanie Berube, a mother.
But not all parents hink it’s necessary.
“I probably wouldn’t make my decision on what they post on the outside of the window,” one woman said.
The Health Department is already expanding hiring efforts to increase inspections and close down illegal day care centers.
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