CITY HALL - Parents rallied Thursday on the steps of City Hall to call for a moratorium on the closure of city-run day cares.

They chanted "Save our day cares" and waived homemade signs. Advocates claim 17 centers have closed under the Bloomberg administration, leaving parents with fewer child care options and staff out of work. The city cited mismanagement or low enrollment in those closures.

Following the rally, Councilman Bill de Blasio and other council members planned to grill Administration for Children's Services Commissioner John Mattingly at a General Welfare Committee hearing. The agency runs the day care program.De Blasio has questioned ACS' new initiative, Project Full Enrollment, which aims to close day care centers with low enrollment. Project Full Enrollment also calls for funds to be allocated to child care centers based on enrollment, rather than overall capacity.

ACS has argued that closing centers with low enrollment will better serve the community by allowing funds to be directed to centers with more children in attendance.

According to the councilman, current recordkeeping methods don't reflect the number of children actually enrolled in programs. De Blasio wants ACS to create a detailed procedure that spells out what steps will be taken before a center is closed.