State orders emergency closing of Clayton Co. day care

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CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned the state has forced an emergency closure of a Clayton County day care, citing serious safety concerns for children.

According to a state investigative report, the Harvesttime Higher Learning Academy was overcrowded and children were left unsupervised. On one occasion, state consultants cited the Riverdale day care for leaving a 6-year-old alone on the Center's vehicle.

The report goes on to say that center staff yelled at children, that there were unsanitary diaper stations and that there were exposed nails on the playground.

Bobby Cagle, commissioner of the Department of Early Care and Learning, said he takes these matters very seriously, and that is why he asked that the state to initiate the emergency closure process.

DECAL says the facility has a long history of violations. Inspectors have also made more than 30 visits to the center within seven years.

"I think that we probably could have acted more quickly in this situation, considering the prior history," Commissioner Bobby Cagle admitted. "In looking at this one, I think there are things that we could have done better. I think that any director that tells you they could not have done anything better is less than forthright."

Wanda Porter, the day care's owner, told Channel 2's Rachel Stockman the center was unfairly targeted and that she self-reported some violations.

"If someone is standing at any day care all day long, sure they are going to find something wrong, I'm done with day care," Porter said.

Despite its history of violations, Harvesttime Higher Learning Academy received millions of dollars in taxpayer money. They received an average of $19,837 per month in Nutrition money for the Child and Adult Care Food Program and an average of $79,734 in CAPS money per month, which is Georgia's Childcare and Parent Services Program that provides subsidized child care to low income families.

Porter responded to concerns state money not being well spent.

"I mean the funds are been poured back into the playground, the building," Porter said. "I know when you're working hard ... I'm working, I should receive something like everybody."



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