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BlocksThe Democrat and Chronicle did an important story on daycare in the Rochester area. There are often long waiting lists and the cost of quality care is significant. Daycares are 79 percent full on average and it’s harder to find a spot for an infant. The article advises women to get on lists as soon as they find out they’re pregnant. Here’s an excerpt:

Experts say the high demand could be caused by several factors. Running a childcare center is expensive, so they’re not exactly on every street corner. More families have two parents working than a few years ago because home budgets are still tight. And the United States doesn’t provide institutional care the way that other countries do.

(snip)

In Rochester, four out of the five largest employers — Wegman’s, Rochester General, Xerox, and the Rochester City School District — do not offer any on-site day care.

The largest employer in the area, University of Rochester/Strong Memorial Hospital, has the Children’s School at University of Rochester Medical Center, available to anyone affiliated with the University of Rochester. There is currently a waiting list for the center.

(snip)

According to Child Care Council, average day care in Monroe County costs anywhere from $143 to $237 a week, depending on the type of care and the age of the child.

Should quality, affordable daycare be a right? Should government and employers do more to make it easier for working parents? Should daycare be institutionalized, similar to the public school system?

 

Links of the Day:

 

Rochester’s appetite for surveillance cameras is waning.

– Rep. Tom Reed had stomach surgery and lost a lot of weight.

“Gov. Cuomo wants to be leader of the free world, but he can’t even get along with Canada?”

– Good news: ABC will live-stream all of its content on mobile apps. Bad news: You’ll have to be a pay-TV subscriber.

Inside a Paris apartment that was untouched for 70 years.

Xerox does a lot of things these days apart from making copiers: Traffic cameras, airline call centers, parking meters, health care exchanges and digitizing government records.

Add another one: Scanning the fingers of low-income parents who drop off their children to daycare.

Mississippi has awarded a massive contract to Xerox to come up with such a system. The idea is to make sure parents getting government vouchers for daycare are actually using the service and not wasting tax dollars. Louisiana is the only other state that scans parents’ fingers.

Aside from shaming poor people, this is problematic on so many levels. Daycares can’t predict when parents won’t drop off their children, so they have to maintain certain staffing levels. Some parents might be scared by finger scans and not utilize daycare. Providers have to man the machine at all times to make sure it’s being used properly. Xerox is installing the scans free of charge, but daycares are responsible for any damage. If a parent forgets to swipe her finger, the daycare might not get paid.

The cost of Xerox’s $12.9 million contract for finger scans is now coming under fire.

In a state that has more than 8,000 children on a waiting list for daycare, you’d think this money could have been used more wisely.

Links of the Day:

– This whole “open enrollment” idea for poor city students is a wonderful idea, if only suburban districts would welcome them with open arms.

– Senator Chuck Schumer defends federal spending at the Genesee County yogurt manufacturing complex. I previously wrote about this “Yogurt Welfare.”

– University of Albany students are accused of forcing fraternity pledges to lie face down in water, beating them with rubber hoses and making them beg for mercy.

– The supermarket wars in Massachusetts heat up, with Wegmans in the fray.

– Real New York Times headline: Finally, a Place in Brazil Where Dogs Can Go for Discreet Sex.