Winston-Salem day care where alleged child neglect took place cited by state 17 times in 2 years

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Future Leaders Learning Academy, the day care where three workers were cited for non-physical child abuse on Monday, has been cited 17 times by state regulators since January 2013.

In September 2014, the facility was cited by the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education for caregivers not documenting “compliance with visually checking on sleeping infants aged 12 months or younger,” according to the agency's website.

On Monday, a Winston-Salem police investigation found that “staff members closed the business prior to ensuring all the children had been picked up.” A 1-year-old child, identified by his mother as Isaiah Shore Goodine, had been left inside the facility. His mother, Mercedez Goodine, called police after arriving at the facility at 9:40 Monday evening. Mercedez told FOX8 that the doors were locked and the lights were off. She then continued to say that Isaiah was found safely asleep with dried tears on his face inside the facility.

Three workers were cited with non-physical child abuse as a result.

Further investigation shows that the facility had been cited on five different occasions for criminal background check related violations, beginning in January 2013, where the state found that a background check for a volunteer staff member had not been submitted. In April 2014, a criminal background check was not completed prior to the employment of a staff member, and the facility was cited twice for the same violation in September 2014. The state also found that the facility had not done a required modified criminal background check for one employee during that month.

Additional violations listed by the state in September 2014 include “indoor equipment and furnishings were not in good repair and in usable condition. The carpet in Space 9 was soiled. The area rugs in each classroom were soiled. The foam blocks in Space 6 contained teeth marks and cannot be cleaned. In Space 7 the door knobs were missing on the refrigerator and the sink.”

The facility was also cited for their outdoor equipment during the same visit, saying the “equipment and furnishings were not sturdy, stable, and free of other hazards. All metal benches on the playground were rusty and needed painting. The activity center/gear component on the playground for toddlers was broken. There were sharp pieces of gutter and an uncovered electrical outlet on the side porch. One outside light fixture did not have a cover over the bulb.”

The state website also showed that “all staff did not have a medical statement on file within 60 days of employment that was signed by a health care professional. Medical statement was older than 12 months. Six (6) employees did not have a medical statement on file.” This violation was also found in September 2014.

During the same visit, the state found that “prior to employment, all staff did not provide test results showing that they were free of active TB,” or tuberculosis.

In all, there were 13 violations issued during the state’s Sept. 4, 2014 visit. The state website says all 17 of the violations issued since January 2013 were either corrected during their visits, or “confirmed corrected by a letter received from” the facility.

The full list of violations can be found here.

FOX8 contacted the state asking how many violations a facility can be cited for before being shut down. We also asked about how serious they consider Monday’s incident to be. We were told they needed to look at their policies and they would get back to us.

They also could not comment on their ongoing investigation into Monday’s incident.

FOX8 has made multiple attempts to get a comment from administrators at Future Leaders Learning Academy. On Tuesday, multiple phone calls went unanswered and FOX8’s Michael Hennessey had a door slammed in his face by someone inside the facility. On Wednesday, Hennessey attempted to talk to someone at the front door once more, but someone inside threatened to call the police. Hennessey was eventually able to speak with an administrator over the phone, who declined comment and hung up.

The facility was re-opened on Wednesday after being closed Tuesday.

The three workers cited for non-physical child abuse - listed by Winston-Salem Police as Charlotte Vernetta Sims, 27, Shantay Ricole Patterson, 27, and Santana Janelle Mobley, 26, all of Winston-Salem - have court dates scheduled for July 24, 2015.

Patterson had prior court dates pending for driving with a revoked license and having an expired tag.