Shuttered day care allowed to reopen

The Kids Unlimited Childcare Center will be allowed to reopen under an agreement reached with the state a few weeks after the day care had its license revoked.

The Jefferson City day care, which operated on Fairgrounds Road, was closed June 20 by the state of Missouri, when its child care license was both suspended and revoked after a 23-month-old child was able to leave the facility unsupervised. The child reportedly left the facility June 13 and was gone for 20 minutes before being brought back to the center. The same child left the facility through another gate June 17 and was headed toward a busy street before staff intercepted him.

According to the settlement agreement, Kids Unlimited will be placed under an 18-month probation and the terms of probation will be “posted prominently inside the Kids Unlimited facility near its license.”

The agreement was signed Wednesday by Kathy Quick, administrator of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Kids Unlimited owner Jamie King and Kids Unlimited attorney Scott Hamblin.

The agreement specifies that all former employees of Kids Unlimited will have to apply and interview for their positions, except two. Catherine Tuley and Betsy Simpson are named in the agreement as being “the teachers involved in supervising Child A on June 13,” and are not to be rehired.

Attempts to reach Tuley and Simpson on Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

The agreement lays out a number of other restrictions, including:

• Creating and implementing its own outdoor play policy with daily lock checks to be submitted to the Section for Child Care Regulation before reopening;

• Creating a written plan outlining how staff will be trained in all emergency procedures prior to being left alone with children;

• Requiring staff to do a head count every 30 minutes of the children in their care and log the count on a log sheet;

• Requiring staff to complete training approved by the Section for Child Care Regulation within 90 days;

• Requiring the child safety locks on playground gates to be changed to “fire code-compliant latches, possibly magna latch-style locks, or whatever latch/lock is recommended by the fire inspector.”

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