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Transcript for audio podcast:
Federally Funded Licensed Family Day Care Home Providers

From the Office of Inspector General of Department of Health and Human Services

[Catherine Warren] I'm Cathy Warren, Auditor with the Office of Audit Services. Today, I'm speaking with Tammy Levesque, Senior Auditor. We're talking about the recent health and safety audit of Connecticut's licensed family day care home providers. These providers received child care subsidies through the Connecticut Care-4-Kids program, which is funded in part by the Child Care and Development Fund. This program is funded by the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health & Human Services. Tammy, how does Connecticut monitor these providers to make sure the children are safe?

[Tammy Levesque] In CT, the Department of Public Health is required by State regulation to conduct unannounced health and safety inspections once every three years. Our audits involved unannounced inspections at 20 family day care home providers.

[Catherine Warren] And what did you find?

[Tammy Levesque] We identified violations at all 20 day care locations. We found a total of 116 violations associated with the physical conditions of homes and outdoor play areas. We also found eight providers that did not get the required criminal record and protective services checks for household members.

[Catherine Warren] Can you describe some of the safety issues you found?

[Tammy Levesque] Sure, at one family home, we found broken child safety locks on the lower kitchen cabinets where lighter fluid and other household cleaners were accessible to children. In the living room, there was a large box style television and a cable box placed on the top shelf of a stand. Next to the stand was a child in a playpen. This posed a safety risk as the child could easily cause the cable box and television to tip over just by pulling on the stand. This provider also placed a child safety gate in front of a door way which prevented a child from having access to the bathroom. Instead, this child had to use a portable potty chair.

[Catherine Warren] What about criminal and protective services checks for people living in that home?

[Tammy Levesque] Four people in the home did not have the appropriate record checks. The provider also failed to notify the state when the local police responded to the provider's home for a domestic situation. After our visits, and other incidents, this provider surrendered her license.

[Catherine Warren] Do you have similar findings at other homes?

[Tammy Levesque] Yes. After inspecting another provider's home, we found a woman - and her two small children - living in the basement of the provider's home. The provider said this was a temporary arrangement, and the children were not a part of her day care. However, the provider violated state law which limits the number of infants and toddlers being cared for in the home during business hours. Also, the woman in the basement did not have the required criminal record checks and the State did not know she lived in the house.

[Catherine Warren] What led to this provider surrendering her license?

[Tammy Levesque] Two days after our visit, we learned that police received a 9-1-1 call from one of the children at the house. According to the police report, when the police arrived, the provider was pulling out of the driveway in her car. The police stopped her from leaving and went inside the house. The police report stated that there were five young children, left unattended on the first floor, including a four-month-old infant, who was sleeping face down, in a crib with two pillows on top of her. When police searched the home, they found a woman sleeping in a basement bedroom which was separate and isolated from the first floor where the children were left unattended. This provider was arrested and charged with 5 counts of neglect and risk of injury to a minor and she also surrendered her day care license.

[Catherine Warren] And what would you like people to take away from this audit?

[Tammy Levesque] We want people to know that we are working very hard to make changes to protect the health and safety of their children.

[Catherine Warren] Thank you, Tammy for sharing this very important audit about how children can be exposed to risk in federally funded daycare facilities that don't follow basic safety rules.

[Tammy Levesque] Thank you, Cathy.


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