How safe is your child’s day care?
Reporter Katharine Mieszkowski sought the answer to this question for her own daughter and found that this kind of basic information is hard to come by – and Mieszkowski uncovers obscure government documents for a living.
State inspection reports are public records, but it’s accessing them that’s a problem for many parents. More than a dozen states don’t post these records online.
In California, a state with one of the worst transparency records, Reveal’s senior data editor, Jennifer LaFleur, joined Mieszkowski as they headed to department offices to do the bold and the tedious: They began scanning paper copies of electronic documents to make them – that’s right – electronic. Hundreds of hours were put into this endeavor but, luckily, there was some light at the end of the paper-lined tunnel.
After we started reporting on this information gap, California passed a law requiring some day care data to be posted online, but lots of crucial knowledge remains hidden. In this story, Mieszkowski introduces you to one family that could have benefited from seeing those hidden day care violations much earlier.
So right about now, you’re probably wondering if your state puts its day care inspection records online. We put together an easy way to help you find out: You can search by state or look at the entire map of the U.S. to see how the states compare.
- What’s the status of your state’s day care records?