• Mother troubled after day care allowed to reopen

    By: Rachel Stockman


    FOREST PARK, Ga. - The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is allowing a Clayton County day care to reopen after workers left a sleeping child in a van for about an hour.

    "When one of the other coworkers pulled up, she saw her banging doors, screaming, and crying, screaming, 'Mommy, mommy," said Melody Lea.

    Lea is the mother of 7-year-old Alaysia Mallard, who attended Hope for Kids Academy in Forest Park.

    "I had woken up and I had banged on the window and said, 'Mommy,'" Alaysia said.

    "You know you have cases where if it is hot in the day, she could have suffocated from that, just being on the bus, having no air circulation," Lea said.

    Due in part to the incident, an administrative law judge upheld an emergency closure of the day care on Sept. 4, 2013.

    "The department proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the safety and welfare of children at Hope for Kids Academy are in imminent danger," wrote Judge Anna Kennedy in her opinion.

    DECAL also said the center failed to ensure on multiple occasions that the "driver or other designated person documented each child's entrance to and exit from the center's vehicle," according to court documents.

    The day care was closed for about a month, according to parents.

    On Tuesday, a representative for DECAL told Channel 2 Action News that the owner of the day care entered into a consent agreement, allowing her to reopen with transportation restrictions and increased monitoring.

    "It does concern me because I am thinking in my mind, 'Why did they open them back up when it was a child in danger?" Lea said.

    Reg Griffin, the spokesperson for DECAL, said Hope for Kids will not be allowed to transport children for one year and submitted an improvement plan.

    Multiple attempts by Channel 2 Action News to reach the day care's owner have been unsuccessful.

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