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Daycare center, state reach agreement on incident

Consent agreement reached in Albany daycare investigation

Wee Kare child care center on Spanish Court in Lee County has entered into a consent agreement with the the Department of Early Care and Learning concerning an incident in February. (Staff Photo: Jim West)

Wee Kare child care center on Spanish Court in Lee County has entered into a consent agreement with the the Department of Early Care and Learning concerning an incident in February. (Staff Photo: Jim West)

ALBANY — The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) has completed its investigation into a Feb. 14 incident at Wee Kare Daycare and Preschool on Spanish Court in Albany, in which a 4-year-old boy was left inside a van for more than an hour.

DECAL and Wee Kare have entered into a consent agreement which includes a six-month restriction on all transportation by the center, fines totalling $598 and required transportation training for all staff. The consent agreement cancels an appeal filed earlier by Wee Kare with the Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH).

On the afternoon of Feb. 14, the mother of a 4 -year-old boy went to pick up the boy from the Wee Care on Spanish Court in Lee County and was told the child had already been picked up by his father, officials say.

According to officials of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, which conducted the initial investigation of the incident, when the mother insisted her son was missing, a search was conducted and the child was found to have been accidentally left in a Wee Kare transport van after being picked up from pre-K.

It was estimated that the boy was left alone in the van for around two hours, officials say, but upon examination by paramedics he was released in the care of his parents.

Following the February incident, DECAL officials announced plans to interview adults and children to determine the circumstances of the incident, and to determine if immediate danger was present to the children there.

In a February statement, DECAL Commissioner Bobby Cagle said that “(Given the history of the center), this is not indicative of a larger issue. This appears to be an isolated incident.”

DECAL says it is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia’s children and their families. It administers the Georgia’s pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and home-based child care, administers Georgia’s childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) programs, federal nutrition programs and manages voluntary quality enhancement programs.