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Policies About Reviews:
All of the reviews on the BPN website were submitted by parents who subscribe to the Berkeley Parents Network. BPN began as a mailing list for a dozen parents in 1993 and over the years, grew to tens of thousands of subscribers who received a number of weekly email newsletters in which parents could ask other parents for advice. In 1996 we began archiving some of the reviews and advice from the newsletters to the BPN website. In 2016, BPN's website was redesigned. Parent subscribers can now post directly to the website, and elect optional newsletters with a weekly summary of posts.
Only parent subscribers can post reviews. (BPN also accepts subscriptions from community members but these subscribers cannot post reviews.) All postings are reviewed by a BPN moderator before publication and must meet BPN policies for advice and reviews.
Post a review of a daycare, preschool, school, camp, class, or other child-related business
Post your review directly to their profile page. You will see a "Parent Reviews" section on their page if you are logged in as a parent subscriber. Once approved, your review will remain on the website permanently and can be viewed by anyone who visits the BPN website.
Post a review in response to a question from another parent
Under "Listings" in the main menu, click on "Parent Q&A." This is a list of all questions that are currently open for response. If you receive the weekly Advice & Reviews newsletter, you can also click on the "Respond" link under the question.
Post a review of a nanny or babysitter
Click "Post a Message" and choose Post Type "Parents recommending a sitter or nanny". Once approved, your review will remain published for 30 days and can be viewed by BPN subscribers only.
Please contact us to create a profile page for a Bay Area school, daycare, childcare center, camp, or class that is not already on the BPN website. We'll need basic information such as its name, city, ages, grades. For daycares and preschools, we also need the site license number.
BPN does not create profile pages for other types of businesses unless they purchase a community subscription. See Community Subscribers for more information.
Please be aware that BPN does not confirm contact information about a business that is included is a parent's review. We are not able to update reviews on our website that contain out-of-date information. However, we do try to update reviews that are resulting in wrong-number phone calls or reviews for businesses that do not want calls from people who find them on the BPN website. If we have an incorrect phone number, or you are no longer in business, or you don't want your business recommended on the BPN website, please contact us and give us the URL (webpage address) that your review appears on. Please see Negative Reviews on the website if there is a bad review of your business on the BPN website.
From 1996 to 2016, reviews and advice from the newsletters had to be archived by hand to the BPN website by volunteers. Only a small percentage of the thousands of topics from the newsletters have been archived, with a priority on updating school and childcare recommendations. This manual archiving came to a halt in late 2014 as we turned our attention to developing the new website, which was completed in 2016. We are continuing to archive pre-2016 advice and reviews but it's a slow process. Parents can now post questions, advice, and reviews directly to the website. New Q&A is displayed at the top of the relevant page in BPN's Advice & Reviews Archive.
1. Only BPN parent subscribers can post reviews.
Any parent who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area can subscribe to BPN and post a review of their child's daycare, preschool, school, or nanny. Parents must have first-hand experience with the school, not just visited. Reviews of licensed facilities (daycares and preschools) are archived permanently to the website and are available to the public. Reviews of individuals such as nannies and teen babysitters are not public; they remain active on the site for 30 days and can only be viewed by BPN subscribers.
Daycares, schools, preschools, nannies, and babysitters can pay a yearly fee to be Community Subscribers which allows them to post announcements about their programs and services, and also read subscriber-only postings from parents looking for childcare, but Community Subscribers cannot post or edit reviews.
2. BPN only accepts reviews for daycares and preschools that are licensed by the State.
BPN does not accept reviews for unlicensed daycares and preschools. However, you should be aware that there are a few preschools and daycares that have numerous positive reviews on BPN, despite a significant number of license violations and complaints. Therefore, when you are researching childcare on BPN it is very important to review citations and complaints on the State's website. The facility's license number is displayed at the top of the page for each daycare or preschool on the BPN website. Click on the license number to go to the State of California's license database, where you can view citations, inspections, and complaints. Beginning April 2015, full inspection reports are also available. Read About License Violations for BPN's suggestions about what to look for in the State's licensing database.
3. "Unsolicited" reviews.
"Unsolicited" reviews on the BPN website are reviews that are not preceded by a question from another parent or by an "Re:" line. BPN accepts unsolicited reviews for daycares, schools, and other businesses that are eligible to subscribe as a Community Subscriber (i.e., they provide services specifically for children or parents.) All other BPN reviews (for professional services, local businesses, etc.) must be posted in response to a recent request in one of the BPN email newsletters, per this policy.
An unsolicited review on the BPN website may represent a parent's spur-of-the-moment expression of satisfaction in their child's daycare or school, or the review may have been prompted by a request from the school. This is in contrast to reviews posted in response to a question, where another parent has asked for reviews.
Note: Most reviews of home-based daycares on the BPN website were unsolicited. Prior to 2015, reviews of daycares could only be posted to the weekly Childcare newsletter, which, unlike other BPN newsletters, did not have a Question-and-Answer format.
4. Negative reviews may only be posted in response to a question, and are not accepted for individuals that are not a business.
BPN accepts negative reviews of schools, preschools, daycares and childcare centers as long as they are posted in response to a question, per BPN's Negative Review Policy. We do NOT accept unsolicited negative reviews, or negative reviews for individuals who do not meet BPN's definition of a business, such as a teacher, a nanny, or a babysitter. Therefore when you are reading reviews on the BPN website, you should take care to also review any licensing violations and complaints for the daycare you are researching; see About License Violations for how to look up a daycare and what to pay attention to. Nannies are not required to be licensed, but they can register with the state-operated Trustline database. Always check references before hiring a nanny.
5. Multiple unsolicited reviews for the same school or daycare
One or two unsolicited reviews each year is typical for most schools and daycares on BPN. Multiple unsolicited reviews for the same school/daycare within just a few months is not common on BPN, and may indicate that the school has put out a notice to parents to post reviews to BPN. A pattern of multiple unsolicited reviews over several years may signal that the school has a history of compensating parents for posting positive reviews. This is against BPN's policy on Compensated Reviews and we do make an effort to monitor for this, but it is difficult to enforce. A burst of unsolicited reviews could also indicate that the school has frequent openings, or is having trouble keeping enrollment up, and has asked parents to post reviews to generate more interest in the school. Note that BPN doesn't accept multiple reviews from the same subscriber for the same school or childcare provider.
6. Moderation of Reviews
All postings are reviewed by a BPN moderator before they are included in the newsletters to make sure they meet BPN policies. Postings are reviewed again by the website administrator before they are archived to the website. Moderators and administrators read hundreds of postings a week, and all have years of experience on the BPN, so we can detect patterns that indicate questionable postings. Moderators have access to names and email addresses even on anonymous postings, and can review past postings from the same subscriber if there is a question about multiple reviews or a business conflict.