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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Health And Safety Inspectors, A HUGE Vent
daycarediva 10:35 AM 05-26-2017
My new center has an unfenced play area. It has been approved for health and safety for years. They did an inspection with a new health and safety rep (different from licensing, not sure if it's the same out of NY) and he failed the center because it needed a fence. There is NOTHING in the regulations about this. The outdoor play space is well defined and the children are well supervised. It backs up to a park/playground the children frequent (with proper permissions)

After talking it over with the owner, we decided not to fight him and just install the fence. He wrote that they had until 5/31 to complete it (OUCH!) but he didn't write a size regulation on the form (I wasn't there for the inspection, obviously, as I am not acting director yet, although licensing has approved me as the director when the old one leaves this month). Anyway, the old director didn't ask . I emailed him Monday. NO response. I called and left a voicemail, too. NOTHING. Our licensar said she wasn't exactly sure on the height requirement since health and safety regulations are different from our center regs. Said not to do anything until you hear from him. I email him Tuesday. NOTHING. Meanwhile, owner and I are obtaining quotes, speaking to the town about a permit, etc.

He emails me back Tuesday and says "I don't know, I'll look into it and get back to you." WHAT!!!? How does he NOT KNOW!? Even our licensar is shaking her head at this point because it's a LARGE playground and we have to do this NOW or the center is shut down or faces huge penalties.

I email and call Wednesday.

I email and call Thursday.

I email and call today. Today I get a response. An AUTO RESPONSE. He's out of the office until 5/31.

My center is CLOSING after Wednesday, with almost no notice to parents and refunding tuition paid for next Thurs/Fri to parents.

I called his boss today after the licensar gave me the supervisor's number and left a voicemail to file a formal complaint.

The town will NOT approve a 6ft fence. 3.5 ft or less.

There are over 200 kids in this center and very, very few licensed providers in the area (4). Parents are going to be MAD (and honestly, rightly SO!)

and I might be out of a job before I even formally start.
Mom2Two 01:46 PM 05-26-2017
Can you run down to the Home Depot and get some pound-in stakes, a sledge hammer, and sturdy chicken netting? Get the kind with rectangular holes, not the hexagon kind. The sturdier kind pretty much stands up by itself. You can use zip ties to bind it to the stakes.

My state approves this for our chicken fence, which has to be at least 4'. I think 4' is the min height for all daycare fences in our state.

IMO I'd worry about passing licensing first rather than worrying about the city rules. The city might not care unless someone complains that your fence is six inches too high.

You could put a sign on it that it's a temporary fence, because if you do pound in and wire, it won't look awesome.

For later, black or green chain link doesn't look too bad and is less expensive than vinyl or wood. Just thoughts.
Mom2Two 01:48 PM 05-26-2017
And the old director sounds infuriating!
trix23 05:34 PM 05-26-2017
I would complain about the guy's unprofessionalism! He tells you that you need a fence by like 5 days away and then can't be reached with a question about code compliance? Is this guy for real!?
Mike 07:48 PM 05-26-2017
Originally Posted by trix23:
I would complain about the guy's unprofessionalism! He tells you that you need a fence by like 5 days away and then can't be reached with a question about code compliance? Is this guy for real!?
I was thinking the same idea. He has to give you a reasonable time frame.
racemom 09:09 PM 05-26-2017
I wouldn't close the center, unless you hear from his supervisor before then. I would document your attempts to reach him, and that you are not aware of what fencing you need. I would also send an email stating everything you have done to try and remedy the situation, and reiterate that you are unable to comply until he lets you know the fencing requirements. Send a copy to his supervisor and anyone else you can at the department and also to your licensing agent for her file.
Pestle 03:01 PM 05-27-2017
I don't have any knowledge of what it's like to run a center, but it doesn't make sense to me to close over this. I'd get licensing on my side and enlist all my staff to storm the inspector's office with phone calls during their free time--or any offices in other locations. I'd get ahold of somebody, anybody, who was willing to hear me out and follow through. I've had to do that plenty of times, both professionally and in private issues like college acceptance and a fire insurance claim. This inspector is holding you hostage, and the only solution is to go around him.
flying_babyb 06:17 PM 05-29-2017
I get that you failed the inspection but I would stay open, since you have proof you tried to do what was necessary! I would let the inspector know that you will not be using the playground till the fence is in and deemed safe
daycarediva 09:54 AM 05-30-2017
So we stayed open.

I talked to the director (who is the most clueless woman I have ever met in my life) and the owner.

We are open, without a fence. (I'm a rebel) I have poured over the center regs (which are new to me, but not TOO different). There is NO fence requirement at all unless we are next to a body of water. We are not. There is a body of water adjacent (across a street and in the backyard of a house, but IT has a fence around it) I intend to fight him on the fence requirement entirely. He has still not returned my emails or phone calls. Neither has his supervisor. I called the main office line and asked her if either was in the office. BOTH are there. Just ignoring me.

I am documenting the hell out of this, but there is a HUGE conflict of interest I was just made aware of. His wife owns a group daycare in the same area and applied to the director job. (doesn't have the qualifications)

The town will not approve the fence. The owner went right to the town hall and spoke to zoning department. It would be a HUGE eyesore on what is a very scenic area. It's been a center since the 90's and never had a fence.

Tags:inspection, vent
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