Posted: 6:18 p.m. Thursday, March 7, 2013

Suspended day care previously faced serious violations

Prodigy Point Early Childhood Center
WSB-TV
Prodigy Point Early Childhood Center

By Aaron Diamant

SNELLVILLE, Ga. —

A Snellville day care suspended after a child was found alone on a bus has been cited for serious violations in the past.

Channel 2 Action News broke the story Tuesday of a 6-year-old found alone on a bus with the Prodigy Point Early Childhood Center. On Thursday, Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant obtained the center's state inspection reports and found serious violations.
 
Kay Whitaker spent more than 90 minutes alone on the day care van in February after she fell asleep on the trip to Prodigy from her elementary school.
 
"She realized she was by herself, and so she banged her body up against the front door trying to open it," said Kay’s mother, Ulanda Whitaker.
 
Eventually, another parent saw Kay and called for help. The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning recently banned the center from transporting children for the next year.
 
"We want to send a strong message that this will not be tolerated, and Georgia's children need to be safe," said DECAL Deputy Commissioner Keith Bostick.
 
DECAL has strict safety rules for day care transportation that include checklists, and double walk-throughs.
 
However, when state inspectors showed up last September, the reports Diamant dug up show the center got hit with a long list of violations including “no documentation to show that the checklist for [an August] field trip and routine transportation was given to the director as required for the months of August and September.”
 
Inspectors also found that a "staff person did not document that second [vehicle] check was completed for field trip transportation."
 
"We believe that the paperwork is an indication of the actual practice around the safety of transporting children and checking them on and off," said Kristie Lewis, DECAL’s child care services director.
 
In that same September 2012 inspection, inspectors discovered infants in unsafe sleep conditions.
 
"Two infants were observed to be asleep wrapped in loose blankets," inspectors wrote, and "two infants were observed asleep in swings without doctor's notes giving permission."
 
When Diamant showed up at the center Thursday looking for an explanation, the worker who answered the intercom told him she could not let him inside, and the director was not on the property.

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