WATERTOWN — The Watertown Family YMCA Day Care Center is under examination by the Office of Children and Family Services, Division of Child Care Services, which could potentially result in the revocation of its license.
The status of the day care center, at 514 Washington St., is “pending revocation” as of May 7, following an inspection in April. Due to the center’s “pending revocation” status, it is currently removed from the referral list for day cares.
“We had an incident, a child was not properly supervised,” said YMCA CEO Denise K. Young. “There was no injury to the child, our staff at that time did not take the appropriate actions to report it. We have taken decisive corrective action, have a corrective action plan, and have every expectation that our center will remain open and thrive into the future for our children and families.”
According to the Division of Child Care Services, enforcement action is “pending” when a child day care program has been notified that the Office of Children and Family Services is taking enforcement action. Enforcement action will remain “pending” until a final decision has been rendered by an administrative law judge or by a court, or until the enforcement action has been resolved. The day care program may continue to operate while enforcement action is pending.
If the office takes action to rescind the license to operate the day care program, the enforcement action to revoke the license is final, and the program may no longer operate.
The day care serves children ranging from six weeks to 4 years old. According to the Division of Child Care Services, the center has a total capacity of 76 children, which includes 14 infants, 20 toddlers and 42 preschoolers. According to Ms. Young, the center is open with all of its parents, so they are aware of the current situation.
“We do not expect to lose our license,” Ms. Young said. “We expect to be in operation many years into the future as we have been in operation for many years.”
The regulations that resulted in violations from the day care center’s latest inspection on April 20 are as follows:
— Suitable precautions must be taken to eliminate all conditions in areas accessible to children which pose a safety or health hazard.
— Children cannot be left without competent supervision at any time. Competent supervision includes awareness of and responsibility for the ongoing activity of each child. It requires that all children be within a teacher’s range of vision and that the teacher be near enough to respond when redirection or intervention strategies are needed. Competent supervision must take into account the child’s age emotional, physical, and cognitive development.
— Child care center staff must personally make, or cause to be made, an immediate report to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment by telephone, followed by a written report within 48 hours, in the form and manner prescribed by the Office, to the child protective service of the social services district in the county in which the child resides.
— All rooms, equipment, surfaces, supplies and furnishings accessible to children must be cleaned and then sanitized or disinfected, using an EPA registered product, as needed to protect the health of children, and in a manner consistent with the program’s health care plan approved by the Office.
— Each child day care center must operate in compliance with all emergency health guidance promulgated by the Department of Health in the interest of public health during a designated public health emergency. Provided that, during a designated public health emergency, any relevant emergency directives from the executive chamber or from the Department of Health shall supersede regulations of the Office in the case of any conflict.
— The program must immediately notify the parent and Office upon learning of the following events involving a child which occurred while the child was in care at the program or was being transported by the program: serious incident
According to Ms. Young, the Office of Children and Family Services does inspections of licensed programs on a regular basis, and anytime there’s an incident in the license program, the program is required to report it. When the inspections turn up something, it helps the programs improve and continue to be of a high quality, she said.
The next step to decide the fate of the YMCA day care center is an administrative hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, but ultimately, the decision to revoke the center’s license lies with the Office of Children and Family Services.
“We believe that the Office of Children and Family Services will see that we have taken decisive corrective action, and that we will be operating into the future,” Ms. Young said. “We have been providing child care in Jefferson County since 1982, and we will continue to provide child care into the future. We’re committed to our children and families.”