Now a story you’ll see on just one station: If there were a problem at your child’s day care –You’d expect someone to look into it instantly, right? But Hank Phillippi Ryan’s  been investigating how state officials handle daycare complaints… And what she discovered is disturbing. Hank Investigates.

What if your child came home looking like this? What if–all those scratches–happened at day care?

Mother: “When I saw his face I cried, I lost it.”

That two year olds mother—who wants to hide her identity– called the daycare and asked–what happened to my son?

She wasn’t happy with the answer.

Mother: “They said it was three other kids who were around and one of them did it. She described it as Edward Scissorhands.”

Twenty-two scratches! How could that happen?

Mother: “Every day to look at those scratches was just you know, devastating to see.”

So this mom called the State’s Department of Early Education and Care–it oversees licensed daycares. When she asked them to investigate

–she says she was shocked at the response:  They told her: There’s a backlog.

Mother: “For one of their workers to tell me, Oh I’m sorry were on a backlog well get to it when we can, I mean, that’s just mind boggling.”

How big a backlog? The state’s own reports reveal how long it can take for an investigator to actually visit daycares after a complaint.

This report of “unlicensed assistants” and “drinking alcohol”, shows it took the state 23 calendar days.

A complaint about  “sanitation and infection control”: 25 days.

A child with “injuries”: 56 days.

We showed a government watchdog  our findings of day care delays.

Hank: “What do you think about that?”

Mary Connaughton, Pioneer Institute : “Unbelievable. The state should investigate why those lags exist and they should correct the system.”

The state sent us a statement saying it, “responds to all complaints and investigates allegations…”  and it “prioritizes the investigation of the most serious allegations.”

But parents worry–when daycare complaints aren’t instantly inspected, the truth can disappear.

Mother: “Who’s to say the daycare doesn’t mask everything and make it seem like they did nothing wrong?”

Experts tell us there about 10,000 licensed daycare facilities in Massachusetts, and last year the state investigated about 1,000 complaints. Check our website for more information on licensed daycares.

For more information on daycares in Massachusetts:

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