Apr 19, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. - The Louisiana Department of Education today acted swiftly to revoke the license of a St. Tammany Parish early learning center, after four unsupervised toddlers, ages oneto two, wandered onto a busy street. The Department issued a license revocation letter to Abita Church Christian Daycare, located at 22376 Main Street in Abita Springs.

"It's fortunate these four toddlers are fine, but that doesn't change the factthis child care facility failed in its responsibility to care for these children," said State Superintendent John White. "We cannot, and will not, allow child care facilities like this one to operate in Louisiana."

On the morning of April 7, 2016, a motorist discovered four unsupervised children wandering on Main Street in front of the daycare. The individual notified the child care center, and the children were returned to the facility. The toddlers were able to leave the center's playground through an opening in the picket fence enclosing the property. The daycare's managers failed to report the incident to the Department. The next day, Child Welfare alerted the state, and licensing staff inspected the facility on April 11, 2016.

During the inspection, the Department cited Abita Church Christian Daycare for failing to report the incident to the Department, not supervising the children the day the toddlers got out, and not having the playground enclosed by a barrier to prevent children from leaving the premises. Licensing staff also cited the center for hazards, for gaps in the picket fence which allowed a neighboring dog to put its nose and mouth between the pickets.

This center does not receive public funding through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which helps make child care more affordable for low-income families. The Department has alerted families affected by this action and will work closely with them to find alternative child care options for their children.

Abita Church Christian Daycare has 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.

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