INDIANAPOLIS – An administrative law judge has ruled a west side day care should lose its license to operate.
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is trying to revoke Safe Haven’s license after repeatedly citing the facility for being over capacity, and failing to follow safe sleep procedures and proper child to staff ratios.
Safe Haven, a licensed child care home, is located at 51st and Michigan Road on the city’s northwest side.
On November 21, administrative law judge Wendy Messer ruled in favor of the state and its decision to revoke Safe Haven’t license.
Owner Lourene Legge has until December 9 to request an agency review, which involves an FSSA official without involvement in the case issuing a decision on the matter.
According to inspection records from November 22, the state cited Safe Haven for having children upstairs without a second exit, as well as having staff working without proper child abuse prevention and first aid training.
Inspectors also found the child care home was over capacity by one child.
That was not the first time the day care has been cited for operating with too many children and not enough workers.
On July 19 an FSSA consultant found 19 children present at the day care with 2 caregivers.
However, Safe Haven is only licensed for 12 children, records show, plus three children during the school year who are at least Grade 1.
Call 6 Investigates was unable to reach Legge or her attorney for comment Monday.
Safe Haven was previously placed on probation from October 5, 2015 to March 11, 2016 for being over capacity, not following proper child to staff ratios and failing to follow safe sleep procedures.
FSSA inspectors found the provider was caring for more than 12 children in July 2014, September 2015, October 2015, and July 2016.
During a July 19 visit to the home, FSSA found all exits blocked except for one, records show.
The state had previously cited Safe Haven twice in 2015 for the same fire exit issue.
FSSA also noted that they offered safe sleep and fire safety technical assistance to Safe Haven, but they refused the assistance.
The state’s new Child Care Finder website shows Safe Haven’s license status as “enforcement pending.”
HOW TO CHECK A CHILD CARE FACILITY:
- Plug in a provider's name to ChildCareFinder.IN.Gov and look for complaints, inspection reports and any pending enforcements
- Use your eyes and ears when visiting. Are they following safe sleep? Is equipment working? Are children strapped into their high chairs?
- Drop by the child's day care unexpectedly during the day. What is seen at pickup and drop off may be very different than what's happening during the middle of the day
- Ask to see the provider's license or registration, which should be posted in a public area. If the provider is on probation, it will say so on the license, along with the reasons why.
- Ask to see a copy of the day care's discipline policy. Corporal punishment is not illegal in the state of Indiana
- Ask what their current child-to-staff ratio is. Experts say accidents are more likely to happen when staffers are watching a lot of children.
- Ask if the provider is part of the state's voluntary rating system, called Paths to Quality. The state said this helps guarantee they're meeting and/or exceeding licensing requirements regardless of type of day care
- If you use an unlicensed facility, know they do not have to submit to background checks, CPR training, safe sleep training and other requirements. Ask to see proof your provider has completed these.
- For more information, go to ChildCareIndiana.org