Day care violates staffing ratios

A Trafalgar day care has been placed on probation through the end of September after state inspectors found the center had too few staff watching children.

Country Kids Pre-School and Childcare, located at 6 Trafalgar Square, could undergo more inspections during the next three months. In order to have the original daycare license reinstated, the day care has to correct the violations and can’t have any other violations within the three-month probationary period.

This is the first time the day care has ever been placed on probation, Country Kids Pre-School and Childcare director Ashley Ferguson said.

The Trafalgar day care is the third in Johnson County to be placed on probation this year. In each case, the concern centered on supervision of the children.

“What we have learned from experience, when the most urgent accidents happen, it’s due to lack of supervision,” said Marni Lemons, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration deputy director of communications and media.

In 2015, 82 licensed day cares in Indiana were put on probation, Lemons said.

The day cares were put on probation for violations ranging from too many children and too few staff members, to not having updated documentation and health records for each child. In 2014, 66 day cares were placed on probation, and in 2013, 72, Lemons said.

Earlier this year, Rainbow Child Care Center in the Center Grove area was put on probation after a parent found children in the parking lot of the center on Feb. 16. Three children were able to open the gate from the playground, walk onto the parking lot and out of sight of their caregiver, according to the Family and Social Services Administration. On March 30, a Franklin police officer was flagged down after someone found a 4-year-old child in a nearby department store parking lot who had left the playground at Canary Creek Head Start, according to a state report. The day care center and preschool also was put on probation.

At Country Kids Pre-School and Childcare, an inspection by the state June 2 noted violations involving child-to-staff ratios, one caregiver without CPR or first-aid training and kindergarten-aged kids being grouped with pre-school-aged children and toddlers, according to the Family and Social Services Administration.

One caregiver was supervising 21 children on the playground, according to the report. The maximum amount of children that can be supervised by one caregiver on the playground is 20, according to the Family and Social Services Administration. The Trafalgar day care was also cited for having a 17-year-old working at the day care, and at one point being left alone with infants, the report said. State law requires all employees, or caregivers, at a day care to be at least 18.

The violations were taken very seriously by the day care, Ferguson said. On the day of the inspection, the schedule was different due to a field trip, and the center had fewer caregivers working than usual, Ferguson said.

The kindergarten-aged children were taking a field trip, but one had to stay behind for a therapy appointment. Caregivers took the child to the playground while they waited for the therapist to arrive, Ferguson said. Pairing the older child with the younger ones was a violation, Ferguson said.

The day care had two caregivers on the playground that day, but when one of them had to take a child to the bathroom, it left one employee to watch 21 children, Ferguson said. Ferguson was on maternity leave at the time, and another employee was with the kindergarten-aged children on the field trip, so the daycare had one less person than normal to help, Ferguson said.

“That was a very off day,” Ferguson said. “We have taken every violation seriously — everything was corrected that day. We always have to have staff in (anticipation) for the maximum amount of kids.”

The inspection of the Trafalgar day care also found a caregiver who did not have CPR or first-aid certifications. That person was a new employee who was scheduled to take the training, Ferguson said.

A 17-year-old who was left alone with infants was an intern, volunteering at the daycare for educational purposes, which is allowed with all of the proper documentation as long as that person is never left alone with the children, Ferguson said. The teen was in the room with another caregiver, but the employee stepped out to take an infant to another caregiver for a stroller ride, leaving the 17-year-old in the room alone for less than a minute, Ferguson said.

The violations

Country Kids Pre-School and Childcare in Trafalgar was placed on probation through Sept. 30 after state inspectors found violations earlier this month.

The violations:

1 staffing violation: A 17-year-old intern was left alone in a room with infants

1 supervision violation: 21 children on a playground with one caregiver

1 care giving violation: A caregiver was not trained or certified in CPR and first-aid

2 age group violation: pre-school-aged children were on the playground with a kindergarten-aged-child. Toddlers and 2-year-olds were grouped together with the youngest toddler and oldest 2-year-old being more than 13 months apart in age

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2719.