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State announces changes after daycare death

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BATON ROUGE - State education officials announced changes Thursday to how Louisiana tracks daycare owners after the death of a young girl at an unlicensed daycare.

State Superintendent of Education John White said they posted a registry to their website Thursday of people who have lost their daycare licenses for various reasons. The Department of Education took over regulation of daycares from the Department of Children and Family Services last year.

"The state, Department of Children and Family Services did everything they should have done," State Superintendent of Education John White said. "There are regulations ont he books, they followed those regulations, pressed ahead vigilantly to ensure those regulations were enforced."

State records showed 47-year-old Shelia Newman, who faces negligent homicide charges in the death of 22-month-old Angel Green last week, had her license revoked in April for not having a proper worker-to-child ratio. She sold that business and opened a new unlicensed daycare on Prescott Road in Baton Rouge.

Police said Newman and an employee, 26-year-old April Wright, left Green in a vehicle and forgot she was there on June 5. When they remembered and found her police said Green was unresponsive and rushed to a nearby fire station. Investigators said Newman also instructed Wright to lie to authorities about what happened.

"It was her negligence, ignorance of the judge's order and her constant and repeated violations fo the most basic principles of good child care that led to this horrible tragedy," White said.

On Thursday White reiterated the state was not liable for Green's death and said regulators did everything they could to prevent this. He said the list of people who've lost their daycare licenses has also been passed along to local law enforcement, and the DOE is asking for the community to report any suspicious activities to them. They also want law enforcement to follow up with those owners who get their licenses revoked.

White said the DOE is also increasing the amount of money daycares get per student from approximately $17 to $22 per hour so needy families don't have to put their kids in unlicensed facilities. That will be discussed at an upcoming BESE meeting in August.

 

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