Thursday, April 17, 2014
A website maintained by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to help parents find day care for their children indicates that two day care centers that are operating on conditional one-year licenses are meeting state regulations and have no serious licensing violations. And a center whose license has been revoked is still listed as an active, open day care.
The DHHS-affiliated website, childcarechoices.me, lists dozens of day care centers and home-based day cares. The listings, which are searchable by town, city or zip code but not by the day care center’s name or the owner’s name, do not note whether centers are operating with conditional licenses, which are issued because of significant violations of state regulations.
In response to a Freedom of Access request by the Portland Press Herald, the DHHS provided a list of 21 day care centers or operators that were issued conditional licenses in 2013 and four whose licenses were revoked.
More than four months after the state sanctioned the Sunshine Child Care & Preschool in Lyman in August for violations that included “slamming a child onto the floor,” the center was still listed as a high-quality child care facility before it disappeared from the list Friday afternoon.
When it was on the list, the day care center had a “Step 3” rating, the second-highest on a 1-to-4 scale. A Step 3 day care center meets state standards, has no licensing violations in two years, has regular communication and conferences with parents, and provides high amounts of staff training.
A day care center with a conditional license operated by Kelly Jean Nason in Lincoln is listed as a “Step 2,” meaning it meets state regulations and has had no substantiated serious licensing violations in the past year.
And a home-based day care center run by Cindy Lapointe in Buxton is still listed on the website as open and operating, even though its license was revoked in 2013.
The DHHS said it is looking at ways to keep the online list more up-to-date and has attended conferences to learn how to post investigative reports online.
Ten of the day care centers with conditional licenses have no rating at all, and the website does not indicate why. Four have “Step 1” ratings, meaning they have been open for at least a year and meet state regulations.
The Press Herald has requested investigative reports on the centers with conditional licenses, which DHHS has not yet released. The reports would show the violations of rules and regulations that led to the centers’ conditional licenses or revocations.
Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: