Thursday, June 21, 2018
Public safety

KinderCare slapped with another fine after leaving child unsupervised

LARGO — In an incident less egregious than a violation last year that lead to six months of probation, a child care facility in Largo has been fined again for leaving a child unsupervised.

On Tuesday, county officials were notified that a 2-year-old had been discovered, alone, in an empty classroom at the Largo KinderCare Learning Center, said Maggie Hall, Pinellas County Health Department spokeswoman.

The child was unsupervised for only a couple of minutes. A group of children had been coming inside from the playground when workers failed to notice the child wander off.

"Children must be supervised 100 percent of the time," Hall said. "There's no negotiation."

KinderCare, 3270 East Bay Drive, was fined Thursday for leaving the child unsupervised and failing to document whether the incident had been reported, as required. It must pay a combined $75 for both fines within 15 days.

The facility also must submit a corrective plan.

Colleen Moran, a KinderCare company spokeswoman, said the facility already is working on the plan, which will include retraining for teachers on supervisory skills.

"Even though the child was unharmed," Moran said, "this still doesn't reflect the high standard we hold our teachers to."

Hall said county regulations are stringent, so child care facilities are fined on a fairly regular basis. This particular incident, she said, has probably gained attention because it comes about a year after the Largo KinderCare was slapped with a more serious fine. Last May, employees locked up one evening and left an 11-month-old boy sleeping in a crib, alone. The boy's father came to pick up his son nearly 30 minutes later, but could not get inside. He called a supervisor and retrieved his son, who was unhurt.

The center also was put on six months of probation with the Pinellas County Licensing Board and received another fine for failing to report the incident immediately.

Katie Mettler can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8913. Follow her on Twitter @kemettler.

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