The West Chatham YMCA has been put 'on notice' from state officials.
In a letter dated October 31, The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning in Atlanta, stating their intention to revoke the center's license to operate all childcare related programs.
In a detailed document obtained by News 3, multiple alleged violations are listed, including: leaving children unattended a child found wandering in a parking lot, utility rooms unlocked, staff not properly washing hands, and criminal background checks not being properly performed on some staff.
News 3 spoke with Aaron Karpas, the Vice President of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, about the violations Saturday.
"It's not normal, it is something that is unique to this center unfortunately. We have had about 11 violations over a three year time span," said Karpas.
Karpas said while the violations are true, they have all been dealt with.
"It's horrible, really no excuse for it. The YMCA acted extremely swiftly on it. We have terminated a numerous amount of positions. We've actually added some positions as well, as putting a transportation coordinator in at each of the branches to make sure something like this would never ever happen again. We've gone through a leadership change at our branch with our new branch director as well as our child learning center. We have a new director there as well."
With all these changes, Karpas said he doesn't understand how the state's childcare agency, Bright from the Start, can say the problems haven't been corrected.
"We are quite confused because quite frankly, over the past month and half, Bright from the Start, a state agency, has come out every single day, and each one of those monitoring visits, which is available online, shows us 100 percent compliant," said Karpas.
Karpas said these mistakes will not be repeated, and he hopes to get the childcare license restored.
"We are going to continue to provide child care. we are not closing our doors, and will be open until further notice," said Karpas.
The YMCA also issued this letter on their facebook:
Dear West Chatham YMCA Childcare Parents/Guardians:
Today we received correspondence from Bright from the Start, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning in Atlanta, stating their intention to revoke our license to operate all childcare related programs at the West Chatham Y. This action, if upheld, will affect hundreds of children and their families, leaving them without options for quality care. The ruling is based on past infractions at the center; and, while we admit that said infractions did occur, we feel comfortable telling you that we have always dealt with these situations forthrightly and honestly. In each and every one of these cases we worked hand in hand with the agency's local consultants, and had been given the impression that everything was moving in a positive direction. Over the past several weeks alone, we have had daily visits from these consultants and our centers have been deemed completely compliant. Quite honestly we don't understand this current action, but we do intend to vigorously defend ourselves by appealing it.
We want you to know that these programs will remain open and operating as we go through the appeal process, and we will not rest until our good name is cleared and the center is once again in good standing with all concerned. The YMCA of Coastal Georgia cares for thousands of children of all ages each and every day in 63 licensed sites across our six county operating areas, and we take that responsibility very seriously. Sure we've made mistakes, as we're human after all, but we've never intentionally compromised the safety of the children you place under our care. Please bear with us as we work through this difficult time, and know that we will keep you informed.
You may wonder what you can do to help. Call Child Care Services at 404 657-5562and let them know that you support the YMCA and are happy with the quality of care you are receiving; and that you further support our efforts to keep our programs up and running. Letters of support can also be sent to:
Bright from the Start
Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive S.E. Suite 754. East Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Thanks for your understanding, and your support. We'll keep you posted on our progress!
West Chatham Y Branch Director
1430 East Victory Drive
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