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La Petite day care refuses closure

BY RANDY ELLIS Modified: April 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm •  Published: April 18, 2010

• Failure to post the center’s emergency procedure and evacuation plan as required.

La Petite corporate spokeswoman Amy Popp said she could not address specific questions about the center, but issued a prepared statement saying La Petite "is committed to providing the highest quality care in a safe environment to all of our families.”

"We have conducted additional training with all of our teachers on areas of child development and supervision,” she said. "We are committed to making sure they are up to date on the high standards La Petite Academy expects and demands from its associates.”

The most recent violations were found less than a month after La Petite’s then-director, Kelly Edwards, signed a plan of correction on Feb. 18 stating several steps had been taken to "ensure the supervision of all children.”

After the inspection, Edwards signed a new correction plan promising the prekindergarten teacher would be given supervision training and other deficiencies would be corrected.

La Petite District Manager LaDona Elder told licensing officials during a follow-up meeting that at least one extra staff member has been placed in each classroom and said that would continue "as long as necessary to ensure the supervision of every and all children in the center.”

Elder followed that up with an April 9 letter that said additional child supervision training had been conducted March 25 and more training would be provided later this month. Elder also reported that Melissa Garcia had been reassigned as the interim, full-time director of the center and the selection of new management personnel was in progress.

Both enrollment and attendance have dropped at the center in recent months, according to DHS monitoring reports. There were 90 children enrolled and 61 in attendance on April 6, 2009, but enrollment had dropped to 85 and attendance to 36 during a Department of Human Services inspection on March 26.