Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bootleg Daycare

We've all seen it and heard of it.

My mother's friend, Mrs. Goldberg runs a day care out of her basement. I know, I know, these things are usually very shady but my mother knows this woman really well and you can trust her.

With the price of tuition skyrocketing every year (and not looking like its gonna slow down), people are compelled to send their little ones off to some sloppy homemade day care operation. Initially, one couldn't be blamed, but can these women really be trusted as professional caregivers/educators? I know what you're thinking. Mrs. Goldberg took care of her own little army of kids and grandkids, she's got experience. Well y'know what? Who says her standards of child care are up to par with yours? Who says they're up to par with any normal standard? Its not like you have cameras strapped to your kid to keep an eye on them, because even if you did, by the time you noticed somethings wrong, it would be too late. Even if shes a relative. Do you really think that she could handle your child plus ten others without training? Anyway, she'll agree with anything you ask as long as you put your kid in her "care". (If you can even call it that.)

One particular bootleg daycare has really screwed the pooch. This woman was a local mom with spare time who was friendly with all of the neighborhood families. When she opened up her home for child care, every family she knew had a kid signed up, until it was full. Things went seemingly smooth for a number of months when one day it came out that that the woman's husband was molesting the 2-4 year old children when the mom wasn't looking. Of course, the local rabbis kept it hush hush. I mean, we can't have a blot like that on the face of our kehila.

Other offenses by various heimishe day care programs include giving kids food they're allergic to, (As if asking about what foods a child is allergic to is too complicated) putting kids out in the sun without sun protection, (because that's too much to ask) having staff without basic CPR/first aid training (not to mention disaster training, fire drills, health dept. and building inspections, etc.) having an unsafe environment (good ventilation, electric outlets guarded, toilets that kids can't drown in, free of sharp objects...) serving nutritious food (One place I heard of fed the kids cholent and kishke..far from nutritious) and transporting them without car seats (That's for another post). There's also the idea of them sticking your kid in front of Uncle Moishy for hours. (Not what I'd call proper stimulation.) Call me crazy, but these are our kids we're talking about and I think we need to practice caution.

Bottom line is, these slipshod day care groups are usually unlicensed, uninsured and essentially untrustworthy. If you want to take care of children for a living, get the proper training and certification. (Yes there are licensed people who are still aweful and untrustworthy, but they can be held accountable if they work for a decent institution...and thats another topic for another day)

Personally, I'd spend the extra cash for the peace of mind.


  1. about half a year ago we went to look at a frum daycare that a woman ran in her house that came highly recommended. we had been told that it was licensed, but when we got there we found out that the owner herself was licensd (whatever that means), but her house wasn't (she did say she get could get us receipts, although i'm not sure how that works). even though the owner was sweet and we had heard good things there were things we saw that we just didn't like, e.g., the kid who was baning on a glass door or the fact that the kitchen (were cooking was going on) was completely open and no barrier to keep the kids out.

    as far as some of your other obsevations--e.g., laid back attitude re. allergies, poor nutrition, unsafe transportation, watching videos--, i hate to break it to you but to a certain extent this characterizes some of the legit day cares and we've even had issues in all these areas with my son's yeshivah (which brushed aside my complaints)

    good luck!

  2. incidentally, the day care was in flatbush