BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The lack of child care was one of the issues that surfaced from this week’s tragedy at a Tim Hortons in Rochester when a three-year old boy died after wandering off and falling through an outside grease trap.
Police say his mother works at that Tim Hortons and had to bring him to work because she didn’t have child care that day.
7 Eyewitness finds out how one agency is working tirelessly to improve the lack day care in our community.
When Rochester Police investigator Frank Camp updated information on the tragic death at a Rochester Tim Hortons said the mom was working her shift and like most parents, at one time or another, including himself apparently had no one to watch her child.
“We have a lot of children that are out there that we don’t have space,” declared Kimberly Suminski, CEO, Child Care Resources Network in Buffalo.
Suminski says there's a day care crisis across Western New York, with many families struggling with lack of access and affordability.
On average, it costs about $13,000 to put one infant in daycare for one year.
Suminski says parents often find themselves without help.
“I would strongly encourage them to give us a call. we would certainly help them with whatever tools, resources we have available for them,” Suminski explained.
The agency is working toward finding more grant dollars to generate new day care programs to expand child care especially within Buffalo’s immigrant and refugee community.
“For example, we’re working with the journey’s end grant that we are now partnering with refugees and through this partnership we are able to almost graduate 20-new programs at the end of 2020 - that’s 20 new programs that are not hear for those children,” Suminski said.
The Child Care Resource Network also helps others to become licensed day care program operators. And the agency has an entire department dedicated to working with in-home child care programs making sure they follow the rules.
“We do work very closely with licensing and making sure that ever child does receive the highest quality possible,” noted Suminski.
Families can also contact Social Services to apply for child care subsides.
As for the Tim Hortons death, the Rochester mom will not be charged. The Monore county executive says she wants new regulations to improve grease trap covers. Here in buffalo The Erie County Health Department tells us many access ports installed are six inches in diameter. But the county only has jurisdiction over the county's sewer district, other towns and villages have their own requirements.
The following was issued by Rochester Police:
As an update to the incident at 1250 University Avenue, we can confirm that the mother of the child was in fact an employee of the Tim Horton’s at that location. She was working her shift, and like most parents at one time or another, including myself, apparently had no one to watch her child.
This was a sad terrible tragedy that happened in seconds. There will be no charges forthcoming directed at any parent or caregiver involved in this matter.
The Rochester Police Department remained on scene at this location until the trap lid was replaced with one made of metal that would support and carry an expected weight.
The Office of the Medical Examiner is continuing its investigation at this time to determine an exact cause.
Investigator Frank Camp
Aide to The Chief of Police
Rochester Police Department