Written order affirms emergency closure of Warner Robins child care centers, details problems

bpurser@macon.comDecember 3, 2012 

WARNER ROBINS -- A judge issued a written order Monday affirming the emergency closure of two child care centers in Warner Robins.

Administrative law Judge Steven W. Teate had orally upheld Thursday the emergency closure of Unique Tutoring and Individualized Children Academy locations at 153 Evergreen St. and 1519 Russell Parkway. The centers were closed because state officials believe the children there were in imminent danger.

The written order closes the centers for 21 days effective Monday through Dec. 24 unless the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning issues license revocations for both locations. If the licenses are revoked, the centers will not be able to reopen until an appeal decision, if sought, is made, the order stated.

Reg Griffin, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, which is the state licensing agency, said the investigation has not been completed.

Robert Frick, a Warner Robins attorney representing the centers, could not be reached for comment. Venetta Taylor, owner and chief executive officer of Unique Tutoring and Individualized Children Academy, could not be reached for comment.

The state found violations of rules regarding transportation, appropriate supervision of children and criminal record checks of employees.

According to the order:

• There were multiple incidents of a child with special needs leaving the Russell Parkway location -- including once when the child was found at the Dollar General store next door at 1515 Russell Parkway.

Vanetta Taylor and Roderick Taylor, whom the order identified as her son and business partner, met with state officials about those incidents Oct. 29 and discussed installing locks as a safety measure. However, it remained unclear at Thursday’s hearing before Teate whether the locks were installed, the order stated.

• The centers employed a man with a criminal record to transport children. The order did not state what type of criminal record the man had. The man was fired after center officials learned he had a criminal record, but childcare centers are required to run background checks prior to employment.

• The centers used a van to transport children without a proper child restraint system as required by state and federal laws.

• Children were transported without required documentation of emergency contacts and medical information. In addition, a transport checklist was either not used or used improperly for required head count and safety checks.

• Children were transported between the centers and to unapproved locations without parental permission. Those locations were not specified in the order.

• Employees transporting the children did not have required biennial CPR training.

The judge’s order requires the centers to notify parents of the emergency closures.

When the state visited the Russell Parkway location Oct. 3 -- the most recently documented date available -- there were 37 children.

There were nine children at the Evergreen Street location Nov. 16.

The state encourages parents affected by the closures to visit www.allgakids.org or call (877) ALL-GA-KIDS for assistance finding new childcare.

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