BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington child care center is making a myriad of changes following concerns from workers as well as health and safety violations from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.
On February 26, FSSA inspectors cited the Children’s Village, 2431 North Smith Pike in Bloomington, with 13 health and safety violations.
Among the violations include broken equipment, child/staff ratios not being followed, a caregiver swatting at a child that went unreported to the parents, as well as unsanitary conditions such as mildewed bibs, toilet paper not stored in a sanitary manner, a dirty refrigerator, stained ceiling lights, and dirty floors.
Call 6 Investigates spoke with several employees at Children’s Village earlier this month who said conditions at the facility did not improve after the FSSA inspection.
“It’s a very dirty environment and there’s a lot of things that are broken that one bad fall could potentially hurt someone severely,” one employee told RTV6. “I don’t want to see a child or a staff member injured.”
The workers did not want to be identified because they’re still employed at Children’s Village.
“There’s still broken equipment in play areas and outside,” another worker told RTV6. “There’s not enough staff for the number of children. We spend a lot of time out of ratio.”
Both workers told RTV6 some staff were not adequately trained to interact with children with special needs.
“I feel like they definitely aren’t being taken care of the way they should,” one worker said.
FSSA inspectors issued a violation to the center for a teacher that had not received training specific to the needs of a child with special needs.
Call 6 Investigates reached out to The Villages, which operates the Bloomington child care center.
Sharon Pierce, President and CEO of the Villages, said they’ve taken more than a dozen steps to correct problems including removing the center’s director on March 20.
“Nothing is more vital to ALL of us who are a part of the Children’s Village Bloomington staff and leadership teams than the safety, well-being, and nurturing of the children who have been entrusted to our care,” Pierce said. “Like every licensed child care center in Indiana, we take extremely seriously any citation that a state Licensing Consultant might bring to our attention, and we have worked to address and rectify that citation as quickly as possible.”
Pierce provided the following list of steps The Villages has already taken at Children’s Village Bloomington (CVB):
- A leadership change was made in the Center Director’s position, as of March 20, 2019.
- An experienced teacher of CVB was appointed as Interim Acting Director.
- Separate letters were shared with each child’s parent(s) and each teacher on the morning of March 21, 2019 to inform them of this leadership change.
- A “Suggestion Box” has been placed on the Reception Desk for parents and in the Teacher’s Lounge for teachers. All parents and teachers are invited to submit their suggestions for qualities they would like to see in the future Center Director, as well as any concerns or suggestions they might have.
- A new lower shelf was ordered and has just been received. The shelf will be installed this week. The book rack in the “Bears Room” has been repaired.
- New bibs were purchased; clothing has been placed in the clothes bin; the low feeding chair has been removed from the bathroom area; toilet paper has been placed in a sanitary container; the refrigerator has been fully cleaned; and the ceiling tile has been replaced, in the children’s classrooms, as recommended.
- All of the floors of Children’s Village Bloomington will be stripped and re-waxed the weekend of March 30 and 31, 2019.
- The area needing repainted in the “Giraffe Room” has been repainted.
- The small hole in a ceiling tile in the “Elephant Room” has been repaired.
- The “Bears Room” Soap Dispenser has been replaced.
- A Staff In-Service Training Day has been scheduled for April 5, 2019. Areas to be covered will include, but not be limited to:
- Working with Special Needs and Autistic children;
- Enhancing, daily, the focus on safety, child well-being, quality curriculum, and adhering to Indiana’s child abuse and neglect protocols; and
- Team building and shared investment in a quality child care and development program.
- The Early Childhood Director and Interim Acting Director have developed, and will continue to refine, a schedule which will assure that CVB will be in compliance with staff ratio criteria.
- Infant and toddler classrooms have already redesigned their daily planning to include outdoor activity time, weather permitting.
- Any needed classroom repairs are being done when children are out of the classroom.
- The nightly cleaning of classrooms has been rearranged so as not to interfere with any activities of the children.
- A thorough DEEP CLEANING of the Children’s Village Bloomington Center is being scheduled, and will occur prior to May 15, 2019.
“There is NO responsibility more important than investing in the social, emotional, physical and educational growth of young children,” Pierce said. “Children’s Village Bloomington is fully committed to partnering with parents and caregivers to create the brightest future, possible, for their child.”
Workers told RTV6 they just want a better environment for all.
“My ultimate concern is the safety of the staff, but the kids as well,” one caregiver said.