DCF finds violations at 3 child care centers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Spring break starts this weekend for some child care care centers, but while the kids are out, a few facilities will be working to fix problems that state inspectors say could put kids at risk.

Three local centers were hit with violations during routine inspections by the Department of Children and Families:

First Christian Preschool, 11924 San Jose Boulevard

  • Hazards in outdoor play area
  • Problem with fencing
  • Problems with health records/immunizations

Bebe Learning Center, 11961 Beach Boulevard

  • Hot water temperature not appropriate for sanitizing
  • No documentation on outdoor equipment
  • Health/immunization records not complete

Tyler Kennedi Learning Center, 814 Ellis Road South

  • Employee early literacy training incomplete
  • Background screening out of date

The kids at First Christian Preschool in Mandarin are all smiles Friday, but the teachers admit they hit a bit of a snag last week when DCF counselors found some parts of the playground to be unsafe for the kids.

"Part of the fence railing slipped out of the holder and one of their slides had a crack in it," an inspector wrote.

"Somebody had put their foot through it -- one of the bigger kids that probably wasn't supposed to be on the playground," said the center's director, Carolyn Jennings.

The inspector also noted there was dirt buildup along the fence line that could allow children to climb over the fence.

"It was just a matter of raking it away from the fence so that it was in compliance.," Jennings said.

First Christian was also given violations for incomplete and expired immunizations.

The school's director says since the inspection, she's got all of that straightened out.

"One of the biggest issues is really with the doctors offices and insurance companies, because a lot of times they won't pay for immunizations until a certain date, and sometimes it doesn't go along with the expiration date," Jennings said.

Jennings said the school has been in business for 34 years and they've always made it a priority to comply with DCF regulations. She says they've had some minor issues, but have always provided the best care and services for their young students.

"We've been able to establish a very traditional preschool that has earned it's good reputation and we hope to keep that moving forward," Jennings said.

The following child care centers inspected in the last week by the DCF were in full compliance:

  • Adorable Lil' Angels Christian Academy, 2188 W. 13th Street
  • First Class Learning Center, 939 Blanding Blvd.
  • Gingerbread Learning Center, 30 Knight Boxx Rod, Orange Park
  • G.W. Carver Head Start (operated by Lutheran Social Services), 2854 West 45th Street