Health and Family Services Cabinet
Kentucky Child Care Centers Held to High Standards
Editors’ Note: This is the third in a series of three releases pertaining to child care in Kentucky. Today’s release focuses on how complaints are investigated at child care centers.
Filing a Complaint is Easy and Anonymous
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re concerned about something at a child care center, but didn’t know what to do about it?
Expressing your concern is easy. Contact the state agency responsible for regulating Kentucky child care centers, the Cabinet for Health Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG). It’s not difficult or time consuming, and you can remain anonymous — just call (502) 564-7962.
“No matter what the child care center issue or concern might be, we encourage people to report it to OIG’s Division of Regulated Child Care. Even if it is not a regulatory complaint, we can refer you to the appropriate department,” said Inspector General Sadiqa Reynolds. “Our children are our most precious resource, and it’s up to all of us to ensure that they are in safe and healthy environments. By reporting suspected incidents, you are doing your part to help protect Kentucky’s children.”
OIG inspectors investigate all regulatory complaints about child care centers throughout the commonwealth. In addition, staff conducts annual licensure surveys to ensure general regulatory compliance areas. OIG staff evaluates aspects of operation such as staff to child ratios; supervision, environmental, and health and safety issues; daily programming schedules; play areas; proper transportation accommodations such as car seats and seat belts; and timely employee background checks. A copy of the compliance report for the current licensure year should be posted in plain sight at child care centers for the public to view.
If the complaints do not pertain to regulatory or licensure issues, they are referred to the appropriate area, such as the Department of Community Based Services, which investigates allegations of abuse or neglect, or law enforcement if it’s deemed a criminal matter.
When OIG receives a regulatory complaint about a child care center, inspectors are sent to investigate. After thorough investigation in which interviews are conducted, files reviewed and physical observations analyzed, a statement of deficiencies is issued to the center if the complaint is confirmed. If the complaint is not confirmed, the investigation goes no further because there are no findings to support the complaint.
However, in the case of confirmed complaints, the child care center director has 10 calendar days from the time a statement of deficiencies is issued to provide a plan of correction that explains how corrections will be implemented to correct the deficiencies. OIG staff reviews the plan of correction to determine if what is proposed adequately addresses the issues. If the plan is accepted, OIG staff returns to the center and conducts an unannounced visit to ensure these changes have been put in place. If the center is found to be in compliance, the center continues to operate with business as usual, which is what happens most of the time.
However, there are rare occurrences when a child care center has regulatory violations that are deemed to be a danger to children. In this type of situation, the center’s license to operate may be placed under intermediate sanctions or suspended.
“Whenever possible we work with child care facilities to improve services, but we will not hesitate to act if our findings indicate that children may be in harm’s way because a facility does not meet licensure standards,” said Reynolds.
If you wish to make a complaint about a child care center or for further information, please call (502) 564-7962 or visit http://chfs.ky.gov/os/oig/drcc.htm.