TOWANDA TOWNSHIP — A day care center in Bradford County has now been shut down by the state three days after a toddler from the facility was found walking along Route 220.
On Friday the Department of Public Welfare found the owner of the Barbara Douglas Group Child Care Center to be grossly incompetent and negligent.
It said the owner’s misconduct put children in her care in immediate and serious danger.
Now the little girl’s parents are praising the fast action by investigators.
The Barbara Douglas Group Child Care Center on Route 220 just outside Towanda sits empty, no longer allowed to accept children.
The state Department of Public Welfare ordered the immediate closure of the facility, just days after 15 month old Kellie Greene was found in the middle of the busy highway after she had gotten out of the center.
Her parents, Ron and Kaitlynn Greene praised the fast work of the state.
“It saves any other parent from having to put their child in endangerment. No other child has to be risked out there. The person who’s responsible has been shut down and it`s a good thing,” said Ron.
A passing driver saw Kellie and called state police.
Now the Department of Public Welfare has found that the center and its owner, Barbara Douglas violated several state codes.
The department states: “The child was alone and unsupervised outside the facility for approximately 20 minutes”, no staff person had been assigned… to the child,” and “Staff persons were not aware that child was not inside the facility.”
Even more upsetting for the Greenes, they said the owner told them about the incident hours after it happened.
“She calls us up, hey there`s an incident with your daughter. We thought maybe she had fell off a chair because they have to report all that and we get there and she tells us that our daughter was in the middle of 220, somehow got out after her employee left a door open and she left a gate open,” said Ron. “I just can`t believe it actually happened, still I try to picture it and I can`t. It’s just something you`d never want to have to look into, say oh there`s my daughter out in the road.”
Attempts to contact Barbara Douglas were unsuccessful.
She has 30 days to file an appeal with the state Department of Public Welfare.