State revoking license of Macon day care

lfabian@macon.comMay 14, 2014 

webb_hearing

Charlotte Perkins testifies under cross-examination by Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning attorney Clare Michaud, right, April 22.

BEAU CABELL — bcabell@macon.com

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning plans to revoke the license of the Charlotte’s Webb Learning Center on Napier Avenue.

DECAL’s chief communications officer, Reg Griffin, said owner Charlotte Perkins has 10 days to appeal the revocation that follows 5-year-old Kendal Battle being left in a van outside the center for more than four hours April 14.

Perkins appealed to keep the facility open before Administrative Law Judge Steven W. Teate on April 22, but Teate ruled two days later that the center would remain closed for up to 21 days.

Two former Charlotte’s Webb workers -- both of whom were fired after the incident -- did not find Kendal on the bus despite signing required state forms that said they performed an inspection of the van as mandated.

One of the former employees testified in April that she was eight months pregnant and couldn’t physically get on the van to perform the inspection. She also testified that she was never given proper instruction of how to perform an inspection but was provided a manual to read.

Kendal eventually made it out of the bus after about four hours and entered the center.

The center’s staff didn’t immediately call his mother, Brittany Battle, nor did they have Kendal medically examined, according to testimony last month.

Perkins admitted during testimony she lied to Battle when Battle arrived at the center to pick up Kendal and her other two children, claiming that Kendal was on the bus for only five minutes.

State officials testified that Perkins and other staff lied or gave conflicting answers during an investigation the next day.

In the initial decision to keep the center closed for up to three weeks, Teate wrote that the center failed to comply with nine different state regulations, including failing to cooperate with the state’s investigation.

“It is obvious from the record that (Kendal) was in imminent danger and that any other child at the facility could likewise be at risk under the circumstances presented,” Teate wrote. “Moreover, Ms. Perkins’ response to the incident shows severe deficiencies in its operation that pose a danger to the children under its care.”

He later wrote that Perkins’ failing to work with investigators “demonstrates a flagrant disregard for the rules governing Child Care Learning Centers, which are designed to ensure the safety of children in care.”

The day care must remain closed during the next appeal process if Perkins decides to challenge the revocation of her license.

Don Osborne, an attorney who represented Perkins at the hearing, said Wednesday afternoon that he was aware the state planned to revoke her license, but he has not received the official notice and had not talked to Perkins about her plans.

She could not immediately be reached for comment. The phone number to the day care has been disconnected.

Information from The Telegraph archives contributed to this report. To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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