Day care registration revoked - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Day care registration revoked

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

July 17, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A home daycare facility where a baby died in Lee County is facing possible license revocation.

The GBI found no criminal negligence in the child's death. But WALB News 10 has learned the agency that licenses daycare centers found 16 serious violations at the home. And our investigation reveals that the operator can still legally care for children.

Four month old Jace Michael Hester was found not breathing at the Lee County home day center run by Barbara Ann Fuller February 13th. He was pronounced dead later that day. The GBI autopsy ruled his death an unexplained sudden infant death, and Investigators say there was no criminal negligence.

But the state agency that licenses day care centers called "Bright from the Start Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning" reports 16 rule violations on their inspection of the day care home run by Barbara Ann Fuller.

July 11th the state notified Fuller the rule violations "demonstrated an intentional and/or reckless disregard for the physical and mental health and safety of children in care."

 The state agency officially notified Fuller they were revoking her registration because of noncompliance with rules and regulations. Their report says Hester was left alone in a back bedroom in a crib for about one-half hour, when he was checked and discovered not breathing.

The state said Investigators found dog feces under that crib, the carpet was dirty and urine soaked, and mold observed on the ceiling and doorway. The state listed 16 rule violations.  One was Fuller was caring for nine children that day by herself, three children over the limit. The crib that Hester was sleeping in did not have proper bedding.  In fact Investigators noted the quilt the four month old was sleeping on had pet hair on it.

The Regional Director for Bright from the Start said Fuller's home had been cited for some violations in previous inspections. Regional Director Family Care Cynthia Tharp said "there were some rule violations, but none as certainly as serious and significant as these."

Thursday we went to Fuller's home, but no one would answer the door despite hearing people, including children, inside. Later a man answered the home telephone, and said Fuller was not talking.

 State law say Fuller can continue to operate her home day care. Tharp said "The law allows that she has 30 days to continue to operate. During that 30 days she has a ten day period in which she can appeal that revocation."

Home day care inspection reports and findings can be found on the state web site, including the report on Barbara Ann Fuller here.

State officials urge parents to check out those reports before leaving their children in the care of a home day care.

Cynthia Tharp said she does not know if Barbara Ann Fuller has appealed the revocation notice yet. If she does appeal, Until the hearing is held Fuller can continue to operate.

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