Treasurer: Day care owes $18K in back taxes, penalties

Kid Co. president selling embattled day care

GREENWOOD, Ind. - Embattled Greenwood child care center, Kid Co. Child Care, is attempting to change its name and ownership, this as it owes $18,334.27 in property taxes and penalties, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported.

The Johnson County Treasurer told Kenney a payment of $7,264.23 was made May 31, 2012, but no payment had been received since that date.

Kenney has also obtained documentation showing Kid Co.'s president, Prashith Srivastava, is transferring ownership of his Greenwood and Franklin centers to Smiley Child Care and Sherita Newbern.

"Sherita Newbern has applied for licenses to operate child care centers at each of the locations currently owned and operated by Kid Co," wrote state Family and Social Services Administration spokeswoman Marni Lemons in an email to Kenney.

FSSA has received documentation in the form of a bill of sale indicating that ownership of the centers located in Franklin and Greenwood has been transferred from Srivastava to Newbern. 

"FSSA is in the process of reviewing all of the application documentation," Lemons wrote in an email.

FSSA made it clear that no matter what the day care calls itself, it will still have to abide by guidelines.

"As with all licensed child care centers, once a license is approved,  the licensee is accountable to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration's Bureau of Child Care to meet health, safety and other regulations and standards," Lemons said in an email.

Earlier this month, an administrative law judge ruled in in favor of the state Family and Social Services Administration with regards to the revocation of Kid Co. child care center's license.

Kid Co. can request an impartial agency review and can stay open to families during that process.

However, when contacted Friday, Kid Co.'s attorney Robert Baker said he doesn't know if he will request a review, because he is withdrawing his representation.

Baker also told Kenney he had no knowledge of the day care's tax problems.

"I have no idea about that stuff," said Baker when asked about the $18,334 owed in property taxes.

FSSA took action to shut down the Greenwood day care after finding dozens of health and safety violations.

In her 11-page decision, the judge highlighted concern after concern, including that the center used cruel, harsh or unusual discipline on five occasions.

The decision also found Kid Co. did not supervise children on three occasions.

"Although the Center has corrected or attempted to correct several areas of noncompliance, including terminating staff and conducting in-service training, the Center was repeatedly out of compliance with Indiana's child care center rules," read the decision.

The document said Kid Co. failed to notify Child Protective Services of a rash and redness on a child's "private area."

"The Center disputes that this incident was a reportable event," read the decision. "The Director of the Center was not aware of the one-hour time limit to report suspected instances of child abuse or neglect."

The judge listed several examples of workers violating the no-touch policy.

"A bus driver employed by the Center smacked down the hands of two boys who were arguing on the bus," read the decision. "Due to the Center's no touch policy, the bus driver was terminated from his position."

The judge also took issue with cruel verbal language used with children, including an incident when a teacher was trying to get a child to take a nap.

"The child head-butted the teacher. The teacher let go of the child, who slipped to the floor and she yelled, 'get this child away from me or I am going to kill him,'" read the document. "The teacher was terminated and staff were in-serviced regarding proper procedures for handling of children and talking to children."

The day care can also request a judicial review, which is another 30-day process, Lemons said.

Parents will not be notified about the judge's decision to revoke the license, however they have been notified every time the center was placed on probation, which has happened several times, Lemons said.

As Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported earlier this year, inspection records, letters and other documents reveal FSSA inspectors have found dozens of health and safety violations over the past year, including inappropriate handling of child abuse and neglect allegations, unsanitary conditions, inappropriate discipline, unsafe sleep practices and unreported injuries.

FSSA records from June 2012 commented on the handling of child abuse and neglect allegations, saying, "The center failed to report two separate incidents to CPS immediately."

Prashith Srivastava has not returned phone calls from Kenney.

According to Carefinder, previous FSSA inspections also cited the day care for not giving a toddler's injury report to a parent, dirty floors and vents, unsafe sleep practices, unlabeled infant bottles and missing documentation for some staff members.

As recently as Sept. 12, 2013, inspectors found a staff person who had not been drug tested or

had their background checked.

FSSA records show a January 2013 video revealed a teacher dragging a child by both of his legs from the hallway into a room at least three times.

According to records obtained by the Call 6 Investigators, FSSA first took action to revoke Kid Co.'s license in June 2012 after concerns arose during an annual inspection visit.

In November 2012, both FSSA and the center reached a settlement agreement in which the center agreed to a slew of improvements including new training for staff.

As part of the agreement, Kid Co. withdrew its appeal and was issued a probationary license.

Days before the probationary license was set to expire, FSSA took action once again to revoke the license based on noncompliances from inspections in January and February 2013.

On Feb. 26, FSSA issued another letter to Kid Co. notifying them the state was taking action to revoke their license.

Kid Co. management is allowed to operate during the appeals process.

The Carefinder website lists Kid Co.'s status as "Open- Enforcement Pending," which means it is under an enforcement action.

To read inspection reports on a day care or check its license status, go to the FSSA Carefinder website .

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