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"DCFS has zero tolerance for child care centers who jeopardize the safety and security of children in their care," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson. "It is critical that regulations be consistently observed by and enforced for all child care facilities in our state to ensure high quality, safe and secure care for our children."
Johnson said that Louisiana Revised Statute 46:1419, as amended by Acts 2009, No. 194, gives DCFS sole authority to deny or revoke a license when a center fails to comply with the provisions of the Child Care Facilities and Child Placing Agencies Licensing Act or any published rules governing child care.
DCFS issued the revocation notices due to noncompliance with the statues and with the Child Day Care Class A minimum standards.
Violations for Ms. Gerry's After School Service include employment of an individual listed on the State Central Registry, a repository that identifies any individual reported to have a justified finding of abuse and/or neglect of a child or children by DCFS. The center also was cited for leaving a child alone at the center without any supervision, failing to maintain proper staff attendance records, and failing to maintain proper child-to-staff ratios. In addition, the center was cited for failing to properly supervise children transported in the center's vehicle.
"The Louisiana Legislature authorized DCFS to cross-reference the State Central Registry for all employees whose duties include supervising or disciplining children in order to safeguard children against perpetrators of child abuse or neglect," said Johnson. "In order to ensure protection, safety and quality child care in our licensed centers, anyone listed on the SCR is prohibited from working in a child care facility. Centers found in violation of this critical law cannot be allowed to continue to operate and put the safety of children at risk."
Tiny Tots Learning Center and R& L Learning Center both were cited for improper criminal records checks. Tiny Tots was found to have submitted an altered criminal background check for one employee. R & L Learning Center was cited for failing to conduct criminal background checks for two employees prior to employment.
"Like the State Central Registry requirement, criminal background checks are required by law," said Johnson. "It is imperative that center conduct proper checks and not put children at risk."
The three centers were notified of their right to contest the decision by submitting a written request for a fair hearing before an administrative law judge within 15 days of receipt of the notice and citing specific reasons why the facility believes the Department's decision was reached in error. Centers can remain open until the 15 days has passed or the appeal process is complete.
DCFS will terminate the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) for the centers pending the outcome of the appeals process. CCAP provides funding to child care centers to help low-income families pay for child care. DCFS will notify all parents with children enrolled at the centers who received CCAP to inform them of the termination and to offer them assistance in securing other child care arrangements.
Parents can view online inspection reports for child care facilities licensed by DCFS at www.dcfs.la.gov/ChildCareFacilities.