Hank Investigates: Daycare Inspection Records

BOSTON (WHDH) - When Roxanne tried to pick a daycare for her son, she knew the stakes could not be higher.

Roxanne: “The most important information of my life…”
Hank: “Is?”
Roxanne: “Is the safety of my child.”

She’d seen the horrifying daycare stories: In Northborough, an unsupervised child wanders out the door.

In Bridgewater, allegations of child rape.

In Dorchester, a 2-year-old falls off the roof and dies.

Roxanne figured checking records of Massachusetts daycares would be easy, but when she searched online for official inspection info she found nothing.

Roxanne: “I feel like I was completely in the dark.”

Unlike New Hampshire, Connecticut and Maine, Massachusetts does not provide daycare inspection records online.

Experts say in these days of instant access, parents looking for daycare histories should not be hitting information roadblocks.

Mary Connaughton, Pioneer Institute: “I think there is something broken in the system.”

How broken? The state’s Early Education and Care website instructs parents to “call the EEC regional licensing office for your area.” So we did.

Hank: “I’m hoping you can help me.”

Just like a parent…

Hank: “Do you have daycare inspection reports?”

Making inquiries about eight different daycares.

Three times we were properly given inspection histories.

Hank: “Great, thank you.”

One office informed us we’d need a subpoena to get information about complaints!

Hank: “A subpoena?”

That’s wrong!

And four times—

Hank: “Just leaving you another message…”

No one from the state ever returned our calls.

Hank: “I’m looking for information about a couple of daycares…”

When we as Channel 7 asked for the reports they reveal the hidden histories parents would have wanted to know.

No criminal background check, child left alone, not enough adults, not enough supervision.

Hank: “When the parents are left in the dark, where does that leave the children?”
Mary Connaughton: “It could leave the children at risk.”

Does your child’s daycare have a hidden history? Even if you try your best to find out, you may never know.

Roxanne: “There are people out there who are putting their child in programs that aren’t good and this information could be lifesaving.”

When we asked the state why inspection reports aren’t online now they would only say Federal law requires they start posting by November 2017. But even when that begins past records won’t be included so some daycares will still have hidden histories.

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