We just can’t get enough document scanning at Reveal, so we’ve pulled together more California child care records – this time for San Mateo County.

We began this adventure more than a year ago after we requested electronic data for day care inspection and complaint records from the California Department of Social Services. At that time, the state made no data available online about day care inspections or complaints. In response to our request, the agency said it would cost more than $20,000 and take more than two years for the agency to hand over the files. So we decided to start scanning the paper documents ourselves and making them available online.

With San Mateo done, we now have scanned records for hundreds of day care centers in five Bay Area counties and made them available online.

You can search for inspections, citations and complaints about centers as well as state investigations about those complaints for child care centers in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and Napa counties.

We didn’t do it alone. NBC Bay Area was our partner for Napa and Santa Clara counties. Stanford University journalism students did a big chunk of the work for San Mateo County.

The state began putting limited data online starting in June, reporting the total number of violations stemming from complaints and investigations. But child care advocates say that isn’t enough because the data don’t include information about the nature of the violations. The state says it will expand the information it reports. A promising note recently appeared on the complaint results page for each facility: “This feature is undergoing enhancement to provide more specific data about complaints.”

We asked the department for more information about what will be posted and when, but a spokesman would not provide any additional details.

In the meantime, we’ll keep scanning to bring you more information about Bay Area child care centers.

Check out all of our stories about child care.

Emmanuel Martinez and Jim Getz contributed to this story. It was edited by Robert Salladay and copy edited by Sheela Kamath.

Jennifer LaFleur can be reached at jlafleur@revealnews.org. Follow her on Twitter: @j_la28.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Jennifer LaFleur worked at The Center for Investigative Reporting until September, 2017. Jennifer LaFleur is senior editor for data journalism for Reveal. Previously, she was the director of computer-assisted reporting at ProPublica and has held similar roles at The Dallas Morning News, the San Jose Mercury News and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first training director for Investigative Reporters and Editors. She has won awards for her coverage of disability, legal and open government issues. LaFleur is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.