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Daycare where toddler was injured has history of violations

Darcy Spears

Daycare where toddler was injured has history of violations

CREATED Nov. 2, 2011

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - A toddler loses part of his finger in an accident that never should have happened at a local daycare.

It's a story Contact 13 first broke on Monday.

Now, Chief Investigator Darcy Spears reveals a history of violations at the daycare center that parents never knew about.

Melissa Ealy: Is it owees?
Anthony Ealy: Door, in the door.

Two-year-old Anthony Ealy's right middle fingertip was severed in early October when an under-supervised group of kids was playing with a heavy, steel exterior doors.

The door leads to a parking lot at Tabernacle of Praise--or T.O.P. Kids daycare--in the northwest valley near Buffalo and Alexander.

"I don't know if it was just that day that things went sour or if that's something that's been continuously going on," wondered Chad Ealy, Anthony's father.

Lack of supervision has been an ongoing problem at the center according to state licensing records obtained by Contact 13.

For the day of Anthony's injury, center director Kathy Jackson was cited by licensing officials for "failing to provide a program of care that meets the requirements" of state law.

She left an 18-year-old with no medical training alone with nine kids--two of them infants.

State law allows a maximum of six kids ages two and up to one teacher.  For infants, it's four to one.

"I'm thinking to myself, why?" asked Jennifer Coleman, Anthony's grandmother.  "Why in the world was there not someone else in attendance there?"

Kathy Jackson wouldn't go on camera, but told me over the phone that she had no excuse for being out of ratio.

Contact 13 also learned on three prior dates this year, licensing officials found an employee who hadn't gotten a health or background check caring for the children.

In June of 2010, T.O.P. Kids was cited for allowing an infant to sleep on soft pillows, having inaccurate sign-in sheets and out of date child records.

In December, they were written up for untrained staff.

And they were out of ratio twice in the months leading up to Anthony's injury.

"They need to really look at this whole situation and ask themselves if this is the right business to be in," says Jennifer.  "Perhaps not.  If it's about money, you're in the wrong business."

Licensing violations dating back to 2007 include--again--lack of supervision. Also, inadequate child hand-washing, dirty bathrooms, unprotected electrical outlets, inadequate shade on the playground, broken chairs and not enough wood cribs.

They've been issued notices of violation, but there's never been any action taken against their license.

"Now with this incident and because a child was injured with it--which is why we're keeping the investigation open right now--we might possibly consider a different form of disciplinary action with this one," says Latisha Brown, childcare facilities supervisor for the State of Nevada Childcare Licensing Division.

Metro is investigating possible criminal neglect charges after what happened to Anthony.

Contact 13 obtained the police report and it shows Metro has uncovered other concerns at T.O.P. Kids--like a child with an unknown disease who had been scratching and biting other kids.  Anthony's family was told to have him checked further because of that.

"We're hoping and praying that no infection continues to set in," says Jennifer, who's also a nurse.

Metro's report shows they've been out to Tabernacle of Praise several times in the past. 

In September there was a stalking violation involving a member of the church congregation. 

There have also been calls for burglary, damage to property and grand larceny. 

And a battery call in 2010 came in after two congregation members were fighting over their children. 

There were also allegations of lewdness with a minor in January against a teacher at the T.O.P. school, but the case was closed out as a non-criminal incident.

The state inspects daycare facilities on a semi-annual basis.

There are close to 600 daycare facilities in Southern Nevada and only 8 inspectors--meaning each is responsible for about 74 facilities.
 

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