New report highlights hidden dangers of New York City day cares

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A new report is highlighting some the most pervasive problems and hidden hazards at day care facilities in New York City.

Among the findings are that close to 20,000 violations were given out to group day cares in the city over the last three years.

The study, done by The Independent Democratic Conference, also found that of the top 10 violators in a November 2015 report, four have shut down.

On average, there are 8.69 violations on record for each of the 2,244 group day cares on the New York city website, and Brooklyn facilities had the most violations with nearly half of all recorded violations in that borough.

Brooklyn also had the highest average of violations per program.

Critical violations, which must be corrected within two weeks, account for nearly half of the violations on record, and a third of programs have been issued violations in the past year. In the past year alone, 3,048 violations have been issued.

The percentage of violations that are critical has gone down over the past year, while the percentage of general violations has increased. The percentage of public health hazard violations, however, remains similar.

Brooklyn programs received the most violations in the past year, followed by Manhattan and then the Bronx.

The worst offender was My Little Language School, Mi Pequena Escuelita, Inc. in Manhattan, which managed to rack up 74 violations and 12 public health hazard citations in a one-year span.

Half of the programs with the most violations in the past year were issued violations for failing to conduct the necessary criminal and safety background checks on members of their staff.

Of the worst violators, the report said, 51 percent denied to undercover investigators that they had committed such violations.

CLICK HERE to read the full report.

UPDATE: In response to the report, the My Little Language School issued the following statement disputing the claims.

"My Little Language School disputes entirely the characterizations made today by Senator Jeffrey Klien, his reporting was based on false and faulty information. This is clearly a blatant attempt to further smear the name and reputation of My Little Language School to affect the outcome of litigation against the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

"The violations that were cited were written on four days which occurred over a 14 day period which included the Thanksgiving holiday. My Little Language School was successful in appealing the violations and ultimately 70% of the violations were dismissed, in fact in one docket 17 out 17 violations were dismissed and remanded for a new hearing with some of those duplicative violations having been already dismissed on the merits by OATH. The rest of the violations are currently being appealed in an Article 78 petition that was filed July 26, 2016. The violations were duplicative, exactly the same in some cases, and written on consecutive days with no time to respond.

"The school had been in existence since 2011 and been through many inspections which it passed, in fact it had all of its operational documents reviewed and its license renewed in September just weeks prior to the violations being written. You may ask if in September the school was reviewed and there were no fines and the school was found to be fully qualified, how could all of that change in 8 weeks? The only thing that changed was the Principal was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Cancer of the spine and was hospitalized on an emergency basis, thereafter he underwent surgery which left him a paraplegic and had chemotherapy and radiation treatment. He left the school for a period of 8 weeks, while he was in the hospital the school was in the care of the Administrative Director and Educational Director, he returned to the school just two weeks out of the hospital, on the day he returned to the school it was fined, for the next 14 days the school was fined excessively for documents that expired when he was in the hospital.

"The majority of the fines that were dismissed were dismissed on the merits. My Little Language School feels it was unfairly targeted and the inspector wrote excessive duplicative violations in an attempt to intentionally fine the school out of business. Many schools would not fight back or would not have the capability to fight back, however My Little Language School will continue to fight until it has cleared its name from this unfair and untrue characterization."
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