SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Louisiana Education Department officials revoked the licenses of 2 Northwest Louisiana early learning centers and terminated public funding for both Friday, according to a statement the department released that day.
One of the centers reportedly committed fraud and the other allowed an unsupervised child to wander onto a busy highway, the statement says.
The child care centers are Ashley Boyz Child Care Preschool, 1420 Youree Drive in Shreveport, and Grandma's Hands Day Care Center, 1357 Airline Drive in Bossier City.
"Both of these child care centers put our children at extreme risk, and we won't tolerate that," state Education Superintendent John White says in the statement. "We will hold all child care centers in Louisiana to the highest standard to ensure our children are properly cared for and receive the benefit of preparation for school."
The Education Department says an unsupervised 2-year-old wandered out of Ashley Boyz Child Care Preschool and onto a busy Youree Drive service road the afternoon of Jan. 14. A passerby saw the child and returned the 2-year-old to the center unharmed.
A complaint about the incident prompted Education Department licensing staffers to inspect the center Jan. 15. They cited Ashley Boyz Child Care Preschool for failing to meet the required child-to-staff ratio and for not providing the required child supervision.
Over the past year, the Education Department conducted 8 complaint-based and follow-up inspections of the facility resulting in dozens of serious violations. During that time, department staffers provided technical assistance to help bring the center into compliance and ensure the children were provided proper care.
As for Grandma's Hands Day Care Center, state workers say the child care center's managers presented a fake document as proof of liability insurance during its annual inspection Dec. 16. Department staffers later reviewed the document and found it had been altered.
Further investigation revealed the center did not have the legally required liability insurance, and had not been insured since May 10, 2011. In addition to providing fraudulent documents to licensing staff, the center was also cited for not keeping required daily attendance records for children and staff, and for having harmful cleaning supplies in reach of children.
These centers are now ineligible for public funding through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which helps make child care more affordable for low-income families. The Department says they have alerted families affected by this action and will work closely with them to find alternative child care options for their children.
Ashley Boyz Child Care Preschool and Grandma's Hands Day Care Center have 15 days from receipt of the notice of revocation to appeal the Department's decision. Providers who have had their licenses revoked are ineligible to apply for licensure for two years. Operating a child care center without a license may result in an order to cease and desist, as well as an injunction from a court prohibiting the continued operation of a day care center without a license and placement on the statewide registry of individuals prohibited from operating a day care center.