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Day care where child died operated illegally

Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 29, 2016

LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A day care where a 1-year old child stopped breathing was operating illegally, according to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, the state agency that regulates child care.

FSSA sent a letter Friday to Debbie Keyes, who operates an unlicensed home day care on Shenandoah Drive in Lafayette, accusing her of watching too many children without the proper license.

On April 25, a 1-year old child was found unresponsive and not breathing at Keyes’ unlicensed home day care, and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

CALL 6 | Unlicensed day care investigated following child death

The cease and desist notice told Keyes to cease operation “immediately upon receipt of this letter.”

“The Tippecanoe County Department of Child Services reported to our agency that you were caring for 10 unrelated children and 2 related children on 4/25/2016 when a serious incident occurred at your home,” read the letter to Keyes.

If a child care provider cares for six or more children unrelated to the provider, they need a license, according to FSSA.

For example, a provider could legally watch five children, plus four of their own children and still be following the law.

FSSA plans to investigate and report its findings to the Indiana Attorney General as well as the county prosecutor, according to the letter.

The Attorney General or the county can file for an injunction to stop the day care’s operation, and can also seek civil penalties of up to $100 a day for each child in the home.

An autopsy has been performed, but the results could take at least a month, according to the Tippecanoe County Coroner.

The Family and Social Services Administration has previously taken action against unlicensed day cares, including one illegally operated by a woman convicted of drugging children in her care.

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FSSA has no authority to notify parents about disciplinary actions in an unlicensed day care, according to spokeswoman Marni Lemons in a 2014 interview with Call 6 Investigates.

“Unlicensed providers aren’t even required to keep records,” Lemons said.

If you would like to find out if a day care is licensed or not, go to the FSSA Carefinder website here.

If the provider is not listed, that could mean they are unlicensed and you should ask more questions.

If they are licensed, you should be able to view their inspection record.

Child Care Answers can also be reached at 1-800- 272-2937 or here