by: Rachel Stockman Updated:SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. —
State leaders are stepping up enforcement against day cares in the state that are racking up safety violations.
"We have tolerated all the violations that we could tolerate," Commissioner Bobby Cagle, with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, told Channel 2's Rachel Stockman.
Cagle said his inspectors are being specifically tough on day cares facing violations for transportation problems, like failing to check children getting off the vans or buses, leaving children unattended on vehicles, and not filling out the proper paperwork to document each child.
"The younger they are, the less likely they are to handle a hot vehicle," Cagle said.
"The reality is that it only takes one time leaving a child in a
vehicle to have a dead child, and that is the last thing we want," Cagle said.
Since July 1, state inspectors issued revocation notices to eight day cares, forced the emergency closure of two facilities, and cited 177 for transportation violations, according to Cagle's office.
"I am glad they are cracking down, investigating these day care
centers. Most of them need to be investigated," said parent Chantel McFarland. Her son, 6-year-old Stephen, was injured on a field trip he attended while at Little People's Learning Center in College Park. The day care's license was revoked in July, after state investigators found numerous violations, including the center's failure to seek medical attention for McFarland's son.
"They didn't seek medical attention for him at all, until I took him to the hospital myself," McFarland said.
Channel 2 Action News' attempt to reach Little People's owner, Kuwan Tyehimba, were unsuccessful. According to an order affirming the emergency closure of his facility, Tyehimba told a hearing officer:
There is "no excuse" for taking a child on a field trip without a signed permission slip from the parent or guardian, and that child "should have never left the building." He also added, that he was sorry about the accident when the 6-year-old child fell and cut his head, but indicated that "kids do have accidents," and that in his
14 years in the business, there was only one other child injured on Center property, according to the state administrative hearing order.
Owners of several of the day
cares, including Welcome All Afterschool on Memorial Drive, say they are appealing the revocations, and will remain open until matters are resolved in the appeals process.
For a list of all day cares facing revocation click here.
To check to see whether your child day care faced safety violations click here.