FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             FURTHER INFORMATION:
February 9, 2000                                                                                                                                     Patricia Harris-Morehead (615) 313-4707

DHS Suspends License of American Child Care Center #3

NASHVILLE, TN- Earlier today, the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) suspended the license of a Nashville Child Care Center due to concerns about safety after an investigation concluded that a 3-year-old child attending American Child Care Center #3 walked onto a busy roadway on February 1.

The incident occurred at the corner of Corbett Lane and White Bridge Road. According to DHS, the child stepped off the curb and walked approximately two feet onto the pavement of the road. A person in a van and another motorist stopped their vehicles and prevented the child from going further into the traffic. An employee of a nearby business was able to grab the child and took him back into the center.

Citing this example and other past violations at the center, located at 5508 Corbett Lane, the DHS has suspended the license under its zero-tolerance policy. This means that in addition to suspending the license, the state also will initiate steps to revoke the license.

A summary suspension means the center must close immediately and remain closed pending a decision by an independent hearing officer at a "show-cause" or probable cause hearing. A hearing on the suspension has been scheduled for February 11, 2000 at 9 a.m.

If the department's decision is upheld on the summary suspension, the center must remain closed pending a hearing on the revocation by the Child Care Review Board.

If a hearing officer at the "show cause" hearing reverses the suspension, the department still can proceed with revocation.

"We will continue to use all available enforcement tools to ensure that children are in safe and healthy child care settings," state Human Services Commissioner Natasha Metcalf said.

The American Child Care Center #3 is licensed to care for 116 children and has been licensed by DHS since 1988. The center's annual license was renewed last April. Approximately 39 of the children participate in the state's child care subsidy program. The local child care broker agency, Metro Social Services, will assist these children and their parents with finding child care.

Other parents who need assistance finding child care are urged to contact the DHS Child Care Resource and Referral Office at 313-4820 (Nashville Area). This office has extended its normal hours of operation this week to accommodate the parents of American Child Care Center #3. The Resource & Referral office will be staffed from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

If families participate in the state's child care subsidy program, they should contact Metro Social Services at (615) 880-2300 for assistance with transferring their certificate.

Individuals are encouraged to report suspected licensing violations to the local DHS child care licensing staff. Other concerns about child care services or issues should be reported to the local child care ombudsman for each district.

Editor's Note: Attached is a copy of the summary suspension order.