State inspections found children isolated in closets, subjected to corporal punishment and humiliated in New York day-care centers that had little state oversight and enforcement, according to a report released Thursday by the
state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference.
The IDC called its findings “shocking” after reviewing more than 1,000 state reports — although most cases involved lesser violations including failure to take certain precautions, leaving children unattended and unlicensed operation.
The Cuomo administration disputed the findings, calling the report “alarmingly misleading.”
“This report took one portion of our regulatory program out of context and is alarmingly misleading for parents in this state,” said Jennifer Givner, spokeswoman for the state Office of Children and Family Services.
“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.”
IDC leader Jeff Klein called the report’s findings “simply unacceptable.”
The Bronx-Westchester senator and the rest of the IDC are proposing legislation that would require all day-care centers to post their latest inspection reports at the center and online so parents can see them. The senators who share majority control of the Senate with Republicans are also calling for greater enforcement by the state Office of Children and Family Services and for the state to reevaluate the quality and availability of day care statewide.
“Posting the latest inspection report at the entrance of every day-care center will get these operators to clean up their act,” said Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island-Brooklyn Democrat.
Sen. David Carlucci of Rockland-Westchester called it appalling behavior on the part of too many day-care centers “racking up thousands of gross violations and doing so without any fear of repercussions.”
The IDC’s examination of 1,584 state reports found hundreds of day-care centers with multiple violations in the last 24 months. The Senate IDC claims only a small number of centers with multiple violations have been held accountable by the Cuomo administration.
“Parents need to be able to trust the people who care for their children,” said Sen. David Valesky of Oneida.