Jun 19, 2017
Young Child Left Early Learning Center, Wandered into Busy Street
BATON ROUGE, La.-The Louisiana Department of Education today revoked the license of an early learning center in Orleans Parish and terminated its public funding after a toddler left the facility and wandered into traffic. Staff failed to report the critical incident to the Department's Division of Licensing and did not provide the child's parent with all of the details.
"We are thankful this young child is safe, but we cannot ignore the negligence displayed by this early learning center," said State Superintendent John White. "The center failed in its responsibility to care for its students, which is something we cannot tolerate."
The Department inspected Five Star Learning Academy, at 4441 Old Gentilly Road in New Orleans, on June 2 after receiving a complaint from the Child Welfare Division at the Department of Children and Family Services regarding the incident. According to the Child Welfare Division, which did an initial inspection on May 31, a driver was travelling on Old Gentilly Road on May 26, when he observed a young child running into the street. The driver stopped his truck and parked it in the middle of the road as a way to blockthe two lanes of trafficand prevent the child from being struck. He then took the child by the hand and walked the child to the front door of the center. After knocking and ringing the door bell, a staff member came to the door and appeared to not be aware the child was missing.
The center did not initially report the critical incident, and though the mother was notifiedthere had been an issuewhen she arrived to pick up her child that day, the mother said she was never told her child was found outside the center.
This center is 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 has alerted families affected by this action and is working closely with them to identify safe, quality alternative options.
Five Star Learning Academy has 15 calendar 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 child care center without a license and placement on the statewide registry of individuals prohibited from operating a child care center.
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