The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services sent letters dated Wednesday to 18 Kentucky child care centers—at least 17 in Louisville—notifying them that their state licenses to operate were being revoked.
The child care centers have 20 calendar days to appeal. The child care centers can stay open during this time period, the cabinet said.
The child care centers are also having their Child Care Assistance Program payments withheld after a year-long investigation—part of an effort to detect fraud, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced on Wednesday.
One day care has yet to be named because its operation hasn’t acknowledged the agency’s decision.
Here’s the list of 17 of the day cares.
- A Alphabet Academy
- ABC Village (Two centers)
- Big Happy Family
- Caterpillar Clubhouse
- Community Care
- El Shaddai
- Faith Academy
- Jellybean Clubhouse
- Lil Kings and Queens (Three centers)
- Lil Prophets
- Payton’s Funland
- Trina’s Treehouse
- Tyler’s Playhouse (Two centers)
In the letters obtained by WFPL, the cabinet alleges that the child care centers failed to ensure that mandatory records had “not been altered or falsified.” The letters also state the the cabinet’s inspector general has delivered memos alleging that a “finding of fraud” exists in each child care.
(The letters can be read here. Note: ABC Village’s mailing address is in Brandenburg but the day cares are located in Louisville.)
The investigation was performed by the cabinet and its partners in administering the Child Care Assistance Program.
The cabinet’s inspector general will monitor the child care providers to “ensure that children attending receive appropriate care, while also making services available to affected families in an effort to mitigate disruption as a result of the investigation,” the cabinet said in a statement.
(Updates on Friday: New regulations and 18th day care identified.)
The Child Care Assistance Program is a state and federally funded subsidy for low-income, working Kentucky parents to help cover child care costs. Earlier this year, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced that program would be cut by $57.8 million because of a budget shortfall.
The first round of those cuts—a freezing of new applications—goes into effect on Monday.
Child advocates argue that the cuts could have wide-ranging negative effects on Kentucky children from low-income families, including harming early education efforts and a rise in “underground” day cares.
The investigation was aided through the cabinet’s efforts to detect fraud through “new and enhanced information technology,” the cabinet said.
The cabinet adds:
“The Cabinet continues to take aggressive measures to raise the quality of child care provider operations and to detect and prevent financial fraud and abuse within the child care community. The Cabinet has filed emergency administrative regulations to ensure quality care for children and financial accountability of state and federal funding. Now more than ever, we must ensure provider accountability and integrity in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).”
Last month, a Louisville woman pleaded guilty to charges of fraud related to the Child Care Assistance Program, The Courier-Journal reported. Lavonia Lewars was accused of defrauding the program of more than $200,000 by reporting that children were attending her three Heavenly Angels Child Care Centers who were, in fact, not being cared for.