Local News
1:49 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Kentucky Creates New Regulations for Day Cares As Licenses Are Revoked for 18 in Louisville

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Child care operators whose licenses are revoked will have to wait seven years—instead of the previous three years—before being able to open a new day care under new Kentucky regulations put in place as the state took action against 18 Louisville day cares.

The emergency regulations were signed by Gov. Steve Beshear and filed Wednesday—the day state regulators moved to notify 18 Louisville day cares that their licenses were being revoked after an investigation, a cabinet spokeswoman said.  Other regulations that didn't require gubernatorial signature were filed then, too.

Terry Brooks, executive director for Kentucky Youth Advocates, said child care providers he's spoken with have reacted positively to the changes.

In fact, Brooks said, child care providers, their support groups and early childhood development activists have been calling for these sorts of regulations, which Brooks said should lead to Kentucky day cares operating in a "more consistent and common fashion."

"If it took that kind of crisis to promulgate these regulations we should take it and run with it as a win for kids," Brooks said, referring to the 18 day cares where licenses were revoked.

In letters sent to each child care center, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services alleged that operators failed to ensure that mandatory records had "not been altered or falsified."

The cabinet has not specified what, precisely, the 18 day cares are accused of doing.

But the regulations have already caused some parents to begin seeking different day cares.

The regulations also come just days before the state enacts the first round of cuts to a state and federally funded subsidy program for low-income, working families to cover child care costs because of a $86.6 budget shortfall to the Department for Community Based Services.

Once all the cuts go into effect—the first round on Monday—CCAP is expected to go to a monthly average of 15,300 children, down from 23,700.

Sign-In Sheet Changes

Some of the new regulations enacted Wednesday affect the subsidy program. Operators are required to keep a sign-in sheet for parents of children who qualify for the subsidy. In the past, operators were allowed to make their own sheets, the cabinet said.

The new regulations require day care operators to use a standardized form.

(For more on how CCAP works, go here.)

Background Checks for Fraud

Also, the background checks for child-care center directors cannot have a criminal history including "felonious theft, fraud, embezzlement or forgery," the cabinet said.

Before the new emergency regulations, operators could give up their license and not face penalties—or at least complicate the levying of penalties, the cabinet said.

That sometimes allowed the license-holder to "return to the provision of child care services without consequence for prior noncompliance issues, including repeated or significantly unsafe operations and potential fraud or abuse."

That's changed, too: A new regulation allows the cabinet to "pursue adverse" action against a license even if the holder gives it up. 

No Licenses for Seven Years After Denial

In addition to child care operators who've had licenses revoked, no new licenses can be issued for a seven-year period—expanded from three—for operators who've had a past certification, license, regulation or permit denied, suspended or voluntarily relinquished, the cabinet said.

"The change will assure an ample length of time for penalty and rehabilitation between significant adverse action and opportunity for re-licensure," the cabinet said.

Day care operators can now have their licenses revoked for refusing to allow a parent access to their child; refusing cabinet officials access to the day care or records; or being disqualified for CCAP and other government assistance because of fraud or abuse.

Other unidentified administrative regulations were issued but have not yet taken effect.

The location of the 18th day care which had its license revoked was released Friday.

Here's an updated map with most of the day cares:

We'll have more on this later.

(Image via Shutterstock.)