NORTHERN CAMBRIA - After being shut down by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning in June, a Northern Cambria day care facility is scheduled to reopen on Sept. 10.
Coal Country Day Care successfully appealed the shutdown order issued by the state office and plans to hold an open house Sept. 4-7, Ann Staples, former director of the center, said.
"This is basically an invitation to the public that we are reopened and we welcome them back," Staples said.
"It's all been resolved, and we're in good shape," she added.
The Northern Cambria day care, located at 1102 Maple Ave., was originally licensed to operate by the Department of Public Welfare in April 2005. It is one of the services offered by the Coal Country Hang-out Youth Center.
The day care was closed by the state in June after an investigation revealed a 2-year-old child wandered away from the facility on May 30, Barbara G. Minzenberg, deputy secretary of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, wrote at the time of the incident.
The child was returned safely to the day care, Minzenberg said.
The investigation also revealed staffing violations, including staff members assigned to watch over too many children at a single time. The violations demonstrated "gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct," Minzenberg said at the time of the incident.
Since then, the facility has made the necessary changes in order to reopen, Staples said. Staff members involved in the May incident will not return to the facility, she said.
The settlement agreement imposes strict regulations on the facility that are above standard compliance measures, Department of Public Welfare Information Specialist Donna Kirker Morgan said in an email.
Both the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Education oversee the Office of Child Development and Early Learning.
The day care must establish an administrative group to oversee the day care's operations, according to the agreement.
Staples, who was director of the day care at the time of the May 30 incident, is not permitted to serve as director or member of the administrative entity, according to the document.
"Also, any child care center staff/facility persons whose acts/failures to act were responsible/partially responsible for the child leaving the building unnoticed on May 30, 2012, will not be employed by the center," Morgan wrote in an email. "The new staff who will be working at this facility will be required to have supervision training prior to the renewed operation."
Increased monitoring, including completed staff-child ratio monitoring forms and other oversight procedures must be completed by staff at the facility, according to the agreement. The center must ensure "all staff are always aware and know the names of the particular children assigned to them," and employees must attend monthly staff meetings for the next 24 months.
The name of the new director and the number of staff members were not available.
The Office of Child Development and Early Learning will conduct a full on-site inspection of the child care facility within 30 days of the reopening, according to the agreement. If the requirements are met, the day care will be issued a six-month provisional certificate. Any violation within two years would be an immediate revocation of the certificate.
According to the Coal Country Day Care website, the facility is licensed to care for 61 children, 6 weeks old to those in the sixth grade.