Office of Children and Family Services

News Article
Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Governor Cuomo Unveils Emergency Regulations to Improve Safety at Child Care Facilities in New York State

Under New Regulations, State Able to Suspend or Revoke Child Care Providers’ Licenses Due to Specified Unsafe Conditions

New York Parents to Have Expanded Access to Violation Histories of Providers and Facilities across the State  

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced new emergency regulations to improve the safety and accountability of child care programs in New York State. The regulations define the conditions under which the state may revoke or suspend a provider’s licenses and increase penalties for serious violations of child care health and safety standards. The governor said the state is also expanding its online registry of state-licensed child care providers to include inspection and violation histories for up to six years, and more information on illegally operated programs.

“Every parent should have access to safe, reliable child care," the governor said. "These new regulations will help improve access to quality care statewide by increasing transparency and accountability in the system. From strengthening penalties for serious violations to updating our state registry to include a history of fines, these reforms will ensure New York’s children are both safe and protected while in the care of their community provider.”

The new regulations follow the governor’s child care program proposal, which won unanimous passage in the Senate, but never came up for a floor vote in the Assembly during the last legislative session.

Under existing law, the state is authorized to suspend, revoke or limit a provider’s licenses when a provider’s care poses an "imminent danger" to a child or to the public health. However, imminent danger has never been clearly defined. The state will now be able to suspend, limit or revoke a child care provider’s licenses under specific circumstances, including insufficient staff-to-child ratios, failure to obtain appropriate medical treatment for a child, blocked exits, corporal punishment, poor sanitary conditions and refusing to cooperate with inspectors, among others.

The reforms will increase fines to up to $500 a day for both first-time and repeat serious offenses (including for fire, safety and health hazards), require state inspectors to notify law enforcement of programs operating illegally, trigger a review of all of a provider’s state-regulated programs whenever an operator’s license at one location is suspended or revoked, and require providers operating illegal daycare programs to immediately notify parents in writing when they have been shut down by the state.

There are approximately 21,000 child care programs in New York State, 11,000 of which are in New York City. The State Office of Children and Family Services oversees all of the programs, with the exception of 2,000 operating in the five boroughs that are regulated by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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