JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was only after the tragic death of a 4-month-old girl left for hours in a day care van outside Westside Ewing's Love and Hope Preschool that the Florida Department of Children and Families learned the center was transporting children.
"Child care licensing standards require any provider transporting children to notify DCF to ensure that the facility is monitored for transportation standards. DCF was not notified that the Ewing's Love & Hope Preschool and Academy was transporting children," DCF said in a statement to News4Jax.
On recent inspection checklists for the facility, items related to transporting kids were marked as "not applicable."
During an inspector's visit to the center last month, he was told the van was inoperable, state Sen. Audrey Gibson told News4Jax on Thursday.
The state checks every imaginable detail of child care centers and holds operators to very high standards. If the state knows a center is transporting children, additional licensing and standards are applied and checked every quarter.
Bundles of Joy Academy employee Kristina Redmon is careful to ensure her center meets all the criteria expected.
"It’s routine, and if anything in your routine is off and you notice something, like there’s a number that’s missing or something like that, you always go back and check. So I don’t see how you could forget a child,” Redmon said.
She goes over documents and policies every day, and that includes accounting for each child several times each day.
"We count all day long," Redmon said.
Reseach a day care center you are using or planning to use to watch your child by searching by name, address or ZIP code on DCF's website.