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Investigative Unit: Daycare's license revoked after child left in van

4 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago Friday, July 12 2019 Jul 12, 2019 July 12, 2019 7:30 AM July 12, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

UPDATE: The Louisiana Department of Education revoked the license for A-Z Kidzzone Daycare and Learning Center Thursday.

The license was revoked after a WBRZ Investigate Unit report revealed that a child had been left in a van on June 19.

A-Z Kidzzone Daycare and Learning Center has 15 calendar days from receipt of the notice of revocation to appeal the decision.

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ST. AMANT - The Louisiana Department of Education confirmed to the WBRZ Investigative Unit it is looking into a critical incident that involved a child being left in a daycare van at A-Z Kidzzone Daycare and Learning Center.

The incident occurred on June 19. A van carrying children unloaded the children at the door, but no headcounts were made. A child who fell asleep in the van emerged at the front door of the daycare trying to get in. 

"My son and his wife were never called," Rhonda Fridge, the child's grandmother said. "She [the child in the van] very well may have needed to have medical care. Kids die of this everyday."

Fridge said her five-year old granddaughter Emma managed to find the "magic button" in the front of the van to let herself out. When she tried to get back inside the daycare, staff gave her ice and wet rags. Her parents found out about the incident when the five-year old told them that evening.

"Shame on you," Fridge said to the owner and employees of the daycare as she fought back tears.

The family said they filed complaints with the state and law enforcement.

The owner of the daycare, Randal Brown, said he apologizes for the incident.

"I'm very concerned," Brown said. "But, thank god this child is ok. That is my biggest concern. The rest of concern is taking safety measures and do a little bit better."

The WBRZ Investigative Unit found A-Z Kidzzone was cited multiple times over the past few years for not keeping good attendance records.

When asked why the employee didn't do a headcount the day of the field trip, Brown said he didn't know.

"I'm not in her mind," Brown said. "I can't tell you what she'd say."

Brown confirmed the employee has been placed on leave pending an investigation. The state said it will send inspectors in for a site visit and conduct interviews with all of those involved.

Over the past few years, the captial area has seen at least two children die after being left in hot cars. In 2015, Angel Green died after she was left in a daycare van by Sheila Newman. Newman pled guilty in 2016 in the child's death. The daycare Green was attending was unlicensed. 

In 2016, Marvin Mercer was arrested for negligent homicide after leaving his eight-month-old daughter in his car. She died after being left for two hours. The district attorney ruled the death accidental and did not pursue charges against Mercer.

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