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Troubled day care facility finally closed

Dorothy Ann Sampson-Monroe continued to operate Just For Kids day care after authorities closed it. An injunction served Monday will keep the facility closed for at least 90 days.

ATOYIA DEANS | Times

Dorothy Ann Sampson-Monroe continued to operate Just For Kids day care after authorities closed it. An injunction served Monday will keep the facility closed for at least 90 days.

TAMPA — A day care operator charged with abusing four children was served with a temporary injunction Monday afternoon, shutting down Just For Kids for at least 90 days.

Dorothy Ann Sampson-Monroe had continued to run the day care center at 2304 E Busch Blvd. even after being arrested two weeks ago. She has since lost her business license and received numerous letters ordering her to cease and desist from providing child care.

But Sampson-Monroe kept accepting children, telling child welfare authorities she was providing the service to parents free of charge and therefore didn't meet the definition of a "child care" facility that would fall under the regulatory oversight of county licensing.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office requested an injunction, and on Monday a judge signed it. The judge would need to sign another injunction to keep the center closed longer than 90 days.

In his order, Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Bernard Silver referenced Sampson-Monroe's criminal history — which includes 16 arrests — and said his decision would support "the public interest of ensuring safety and well-being of children in Hillsborough County."

Sampson-Monroe, 47, refused to speak to reporters about the order.

This month's arrest came after allegations that she hit four children, ages 3 to 5, on their legs, buttocks and faces. When police arrived to arrest her, they say they were greeted by an unsupervised toddler in diapers.

Police arrested Sampson-Monroe four years ago on aggravated battery charges, accusing her of shaking a baby and bruising his brain. But based on the time frame of the injury, prosecutors could not definitively say she was at fault.

They dropped the charges. She was free to work in a child care facility again.

A county inspection of the center found nails protruding from boards in a playground and a thermostat set to 91 degrees where infants sleep.

At least three caregivers had not completed criminal background checks, and the center had no electricity. The license listed a false owner.

On June 19, Hillsborough county officials ordered the day care closed for good. But up until Monday, parents continued to drop off their children for Sampson-Monroe to watch. Several kids were inside when deputies and a county inspector served the temporary injunction.

About an hour later, parents began to arrive.

A woman walked in. The blinds were closed, the door locked behind her.

She emerged with a baby, without saying a word.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.

Troubled day care facility finally closed 06/29/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 29, 2009 10:48pm]
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