Child care centers operate despite license revocation

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by Renee Murphy

WHAS11.com

Posted on February 4, 2014 at 12:52 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 4 at 9:05 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Child care centers in Kentuckiana have seen their share of trouble.

Within the past year, 18 centers have been closed after a 2013 investigation revealed cases of fraud involving providers billing the state for children who didn’t attend.

Most of these centers were operational, and in Kentucky, the state can decide to revoke the center’s license and that center can remain open.

The question at hand – how much do you really know about the day care center where you send your child?

Renee Murphy: Have you had any past problems here at the day care that the state investigated?

“Not that I know of. I have only been here since August; yeah, I just took on the position in August,” the director of Little People Academy said.

Through an open records request we were able to obtain a revocation notice for this center from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The cabinet alleges infants were left unattended during their inspection, there was insufficient staffing and police responded to the center after staff had an altercation in front of the kids in July and a list of other concerns.

The cabinet also said the center failed twice to come up with an acceptable plan of correction.

We found Deanna Thomas who is listed on the states documents as the director of the center and showed her the paperwork.

“I have never seen that paperwork at all,” Thomas said.

Parents at the day care declined to go on camera, but told us they were never told about any problems with the center's license.

She wasn't the only day care director who said they were surprised by our documents.

“I don't know anything about that,” the director of Kids Kozy Korner on Dixie Highway said.

A letter from the state dated December 2013 states the cabinet has decided to revoke the license at both Kids Kozy Korner locations - Dixie Highway and Market Street.

The state alleges fraud at the center, and according to documents the centers abused the Child and Adult Care Food Program to the tune of $27,000.

The state’s documents show they've been disqualified from participation in the program.

At these centers parents said they were aware of what was going on but declined to comment on camera.

And even though these centers have gotten revocation notices, they can still operate.

According to regulations in Kentucky, a day care center can appeal the license revocation decision and remain open during the appeal.

Kids Kozy Korner and Little People Academy are appealing the state’s decision.

“The administration here in Frankfort is actually talking about a broad review of licensing. How do we make sure those 3 and 4-year-olds, not just at some, but at every child care center is the highest quality,” Terry Brookes with Kentucky Youth Advocates said.

Brookes said improvements have been made recently to the states day care regulations. Now, a day care center's past problems are factored in when the state decides if a new license should be granted.

Thomas at Little People Academy said she has this message for parents:

“We are a wonderful day care. Everything is taken care of, we love the kids like they're our own and since I've been here I make sure we abide by every state regulation,” Thomas said.

Those from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services say Little People Academy is doing what they need to do to correct the issues. The staff in question at the center are no longer employed.

To find out information about your day care center you have to file an open records request through the Office of Inspector General in Frankfort. The phone number to call is (502) 564-7962.

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