May 21, 2013
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—The executive director of DC 1707, Raglan George Jr., said that State Senator Diane Savino didn’t consult with the union when she and State Senator Jeff Klein issued a report last week highlighting the high number of health code violations at day care centers throughout the city. Watch Video
The report is the first in a series to be released by the Independent Democratic Conference, of which Sens. Savino and Klein are members.
George Jr., who was joined by City Council candidate Ben Kallos on his one-man march protest against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Early Learn educational program, said that Senator Savino should have made the distinction in her report between day care centers employing a unionized workforce and centers operated by non-profit organizations that are not unionized.
According to report, day care centers throughout the city are averaging between 11 and 14 violations per facility since 2010. The highest average belongs to Brooklyn (14.49 violations per provider), which is home to the highest number of providers (809) in the city.
Some of the most common violations include the failure to screen new hires for a history of child abuse, deterioration of facility infrastructure, failure to properly clean facilities and failure to install and maintain window guards in rooms, hallways and stairwells, according to the report.
But George Jr., and the union that represents early childhood education workers in day care and Head Start centers, is not happy with the report’s findings because he believes it does not fairly portray subsidized childcare in the city.
“We’re pressing [Savino] to make changes to the report, which she said she will do,” said George Jr.
On Mr. Kallos, George Jr. hopes there are more City Council candidates that will make restoring early childhood education seats a priority in their political careers. Kallos said that government-subsidized childcare is essential for low-income working families to avoid being mired in poverty.
“We believe if you’re in need, you should get it. There are 275,000 children who need this service, according to the Administration for Children’s Services; rather than cutting back seats we should be figuring out how do we provide seats for all 275,000 children,” said Kallos.
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