JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4Jax is committed to keeping children safe at local day cares.
More than a dozen violations were given to several local child care facilities during recent inspections.
Counselors with the Department of Children and Families perform routine checks to make sure local day cares are following the rules to ensure children's safety.
Out of nine day cares that went through an inspection last week only three were hit with violations. Some were minor building maintenance issues, while others were pretty serious involving supervision issues.
Nanny's Northside Nursery on Biscayne Boulevard was hit with eight violations during a routine inspection last week. Kidz-n-Kidz Academy on Merrill Road received five violations, and Kids By The Hour on Beach Boulevard had only one minor violation.
According to the DCF report on Nanny's Northside Nursery, a staff member was in the kitchen and left 3 year olds alone in a classroom. Owner Larry Heck said the staff member was only a few feet away and could still see the children in the room but said that's no excuse.
"It's not OK," Heck said. "I spoke with her on the issue (to) not leave your room. She is well aware and shouldn't have made those couple steps, and she did. I got a write-up and I'm paying the fine."
Nanny's Northside Nursery was also cited for having a fence shorter than 4 feet. The counselor noted it was due to the buildup of mulch.
"They want me to pull up the fence and bring it to 4 feet," Heck said. "There's just mulch on the edges that takes away from the height."
Heck said he and his family have been been in the day care business for 36 years now and said he's made the necessary changes to stay up to code.
"If they find any violations, I fix them immediately," Heck said. "I try and make a safe environment for the children from the time they're here and teach them something at the same time."
According to the report on Kidz-n-Kidz Academy, the day care was cited for not having a resilient surface beneath and within the fall zone on the playground. The owner said the playground was being remodeled during inspection. She was laying mulch on the ground when News4Jax went by for an interview.
During its inspection, Kidz-n-Kidz Academy only had one credentialed staff member on site for the 53 kids at the day care. DCF standards require at least two credentialed staff members to be on campus at all times. The owner did not want to speak on camera but said the facility has four credentialed staff members and doesn't plan to hire anymore.
Kids By The Hour's one minor violation was that the day care had damaged floor mats. The owner did not want to speak on camera but said some of the play mats were ripped and have since been replaced. She also added that her business has been going so well that she is at capacity and cannot accept anymore kids.
The six facilities with perfect scores on their inspections were:
- JSM Early Learning Enrichment Center 2 on Prospect Street
- A New Creation Learning Center Inc. on Lem Turner Road
- Amelia Island Academy on South 14th Street in Fernandina Beach
- Tudor Time Learning Center on Windsor Commons Court
- Creative Minds Academy of Deerwood on Deerwood Park Avenue
- Wesley Child Development Center on Broward Road
To report concerns or complaints about a child care facility, call 904-485-9564. You can also go to http://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/child-care/parent-resources and then select "Provider Search" to search for any local child care facility.