3-year-old's death raises childcare questions

July 18, 2019 11:12 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester Police say a mother brought her 3-year-old son to work at Tim Hortons Monday morning.

In a tragic accident, the young boy fell into a grease trap behind the building and died. Police say the boy's mother brought the child to work as a last resort.


Following the tragedy, News10NBC has been taking a closer look at childcare options in Rochester. 

On Thursday, News10NBC spoke with Elaine Spaull who is the executive director for The Center for Youth. Spaull says the Crisis Nursery is available any time of day or night for free to help families in emergency childcare situations.

"We know that whatever happened was not intended," Spaull said. "It was a dangerous situation that no one knew was dangerous at that time."

Police say the boy stepped on a grease trap and the plastic lid gave way.

The Crisis Nursery cares for more than 1,000 children every year. There are two locations, one on Genesee Park Boulevard and another on Rosewood Terrace. Each location has enough staff and space for six children at a time but if they are packed, Spaull says the team still tries to help.

"We can help you for three or four days then we start to make a system change," Spaull said. "We get you connected and talking to people. We're going to figure out what's a good place near you, how much you can afford and everything in between." 

On a state level, leaders acknowledge families are facing childcare barriers as New York remains one of the most expensive states for childcare. The Department of Labor tweeted that parents can expect to pay more than $14,000 every year for an infant's care.

The DOL went on to say that the labor commissioner is the co-chair of the Child Care Availability Task Force, a state-led effort to help parents access quality affordable care for kids.

Spaull hopes Monday's tragedy raises awareness for a local service ready to assist. 

"There's no shame to asking for help. Everybody needs help sometimes," Spaull said.

The Crisis Nursery is always looking for donations to stay open and expand to more locations across the city. Spaull says they’re also looking for volunteers and diaper donations. 


Kaci Jones

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