RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WSAV) – Nearly 100 families are looking for a new daycare center Thursday after a state agency revoked its license to operate in the state of Georgia.
The original notice was sent to Angel Learning Center in November of 2019. It says owners “knowingly and intentionally allowed an employee to continue to work at the center without the appropriate satisfactory records check determination.”
On Wednesday, a judge with the Office of State Administrative Hearings upheld the agency’s decision to revoke its license. The center can reapply for a new license after one year, but the state will take into account all previous violations.
“Revocations are not that frequent, but it is something that we have as a mechanism beyond fines where we feel like children could be in imminent danger,” said Reg Griffin, a spokesperson with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
Griffin says Georgia law requires fingerprint-based criminal background checks for anyone who works with children. He says employees at Angel Learning Center did not comply with the law or did not properly transfer background checks over from previous jobs.
Griffin says consultants discovered the violation and promptly trained managers on how to properly screen their employees, but he says they refused to fix the mistake.
“We talked with them at the center. We brought them in for consultations in our offices. We feel like we have gone above and beyond to bring this to their attention to discuss the seriousness of it and discuss the proper way. There was no compliance all,” he said.
Family members and former staff members talked to News 3 about sanitary problems at the center but wanted to remain anonymous. They say the facility was constantly dirty and used diapers often littered the play areas.
Recent inspection reports indicate the daycare left bleach and exposed wires within reach of children. Several children in the daycare — according to separate inspection report — are younger than one-year-old.
In one report, consultants with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning investigated an incident where a 4-year-old climbed on a pile of cots, fell off and hurt their head.
“Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” said Griffin. “If there’s a problem in one area, there could be concerns or shortcomings in other areas. We always do a full inspection.”
Angel Learning Center sent News 3 the following message:
“We as Angel Learning Center were helping with consultation and working towards a full change of ownership.”Angel Care Learning Center
If you or your family has been affected by the sudden closure, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning says there are several resources on their website to help.