Care.com, the internet-based childcare marketplace, had removed more than 46,000 daycare center listings from its website ahead of a Wall Street Journal investigation into its practices earlier this month.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal citing an analysis, Care.com took down around 72 percent of daycare centers listed on the website, with some listed as of March 1, 2019. The scrub amounts to the removal of 46,594 businesses. The company, which has around 32 million caregiver and parent members, hooks families up with nannies and babysitters — but parents can also use the website to find information about daycares in their location.
Nancy Bushkin, a spokeswoman for the company, told the paper the daycare center listings were removed March 7, the day it reported fourth-quarter earnings. She said Care.com removed 45 percent of daycare centers from its website and that the number is different than the WSJ because Care.com uses algorithms to remove listings and the paper only saw a subset of the total of number of listings. The spokeswoman wouldn’t say how many daycare centers are listed now compared to before.
The removal came as the WSJ discovered through an investigation that hundreds of the daycare center listings were of companies that claimed to have licenses but didn’t. Others didn’t exist or didn’t know they were listed on the website. The investigation also found Care.com was limited in vetting the caregivers that appear on the site, with nine having police records. The report prompted the stock to sell off. In Care.com’s defense, the company said it makes it clear to customers that it doesn’t put caregivers through a full vetting process before listing them on the website.
The report out of the WSJ prompted Care.com to disclose in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it was changing business practices and removing some of the listings. It said in the filing it had used publicly available data to create the directory and would then ask the businesses to claim ownership. The daycare listings account for less than 0.5 percent of its revenue, noted the paper. Care.com also said in the filing that it will stop allowing caregivers to apply for a job until its preliminary screening is complete. It told the WSJ that it checks multi-jurisdictional criminal databases and the National Sex Offender Public Website and that it created a new committee in which the board will have oversight of its safety and cybersecurity programs.