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Health Department Proposes Changes to Better Regulate Child Care Centers

 The Department of Health proposed changes to the Health Code to better regulate child care centers.
The Department of Health proposed changes to the Health Code to better regulate child care centers.
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DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

MIDTOWN — The Department of Health has submitted a set of proposals to better regulate child care programs in the city, the agency announced Tuesday — nearly a year after a 3-month-old baby died at an unlicensed day care center in SoHo. 

The 11 changes to the Health Code would include requiring child care centers to conspicuously post their permits, requiring all programs to have FDNY-approved fire alarms and better tracking of teacher training certification.  

“Parents should be confident that when they find a child care service their children will be in good hands, which is why we are introducing additional safety measures for the Board of Health’s consideration,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement. “These reforms build on our existing efforts to make the system more transparent for parents and safer for children.”

The agency said it recommended the changes after a “comprehensive review” of the city’s 2,249 licensed child care centers.

Other proposed rules include: 

► Requiring programs to notify the DOH within five days when a director is terminated or resigns.

► Requiring services that consistently fail to correct violations to enroll in a performance improvement program.

► Enabling Basset to revoke the permit of a program after a hearing if it is unable or unwilling to enact changes after going through the improvement program.

► Setting additional circumstances to allow for a permit to be revoked — including when a center has had its permit suspended multiple times in three years or has a pattern of serious violations.

► Requiring that tap water in centers be tested for lead every five years, and submitting the results to the DOH.

► Better facilitating Early Intervention and Committee on Preschool Special Education consultants to provide support services to children.

► Updating the list of teacher immunizations required for educators to work with children.

► Tightening fraud protection controls through expanding documentation requirements so the DOH can uncover fraud in the permit application process.

The changes still need to approved by the Board of Health before the Health Code is modified.