In an effort to further protect children in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed stricter legislation for child care providers.  The bill would increase the maximum fine for serious violations from $500 to $5,000 per day.

“There is already a strict enforcement system licensers and registrars must follow,” says Jamie Basiliere, Executive Director of the North Country Child Care Council.  “Child care programs in our region work very hard to stay in compliance with the regulations, parents must have peace of mind that their children are being well cared for.”

Under Cuomo’s bill the state could suspend, or revoke a provider’s license for the following violations: inadequate supervision, failure to maintain proper staff-to-child ratios, not cooperating with inspections, causing a child injury or death, or using corporal punishment.

“My biggest hope for this bill is it will level the playing field, so we can better understand how to provide consequences for certain violations,” says Licensed Child Care Provider Rose Blanchard.  “For example,   blocking and egress could mean a toy rolled in front of the door, or someone locked a door preventing the child from getting out, and that’s a big difference.”

Blanchard is concerned this law would be tough to enforce, due to the umbrella definition the state has for certain violations.

“It’s because of that 15 minutes when your substitute is coming in because one of your teachers got sick, but it’s best practice to remove a health risk so your children don’t get sick, it’s because that toy car accidentally slid in front of the door, those programs don’t deserve a $5,000 a day fine,” says Blanchard.

Basiliere echoes that concern, but agrees the bill is a positive step to ensuring all children are properly cared for when their parents cannot be there.

“The Governor states illegally operating child care centers are all over New York City, that’s not the case here but, I think there is an underground network of unlicensed illegally operating family child care homes,” says Basiliere.  “This is a wake up call for anyone caring for more than two children for more than three hours a day when the children are not related to them.”