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Children of America - Sterling
46586 S. Cottage Road
Sterling, VA 20164
(571) 926-9324

Current Inspector: Whitney McGrath (571) 835-4717

Inspection Date: Sept. 18, 2014

Complaint Related: Yes

Areas Reviewed:
63.2 Child Abuse and Neglect
22VAC40-191 Background Checks (22VAC40-191)

Technical Assistance:

Conducted an unannounced complaint investigation into allegations of inappropriate staff conduct, ratios, moving children, and inappropriate behavior guidance. There was insufficient evidence to support the allegations of staff conduct and ratios. There is a preponderance of evidence to support the allegations of inappropriate behavior guidance, and the moving of children therefore this complaint is deemed to be valid/founded.

Standard #: 22VAC40-185-350-F
Complaint related: Yes
Description: Based on interviews conducted, it was determined that children are moved among classes on a repeated basis (daily/weekly) due to a shortage of staff and to balance ratios. Evidence: 5 of 8 individuals interviewed reported that preschool-age children are regularly moved from class to class as needed to maintain ratios. Note: This is outside the first and last hours of operation, where combining of groups may occur.

Plan of Correction: In response to 22VAC40-185-(5) 350-F We do combine children during nonacademic hours of our operation which include early morning hours and late evening hours. During this time infant are together, Toddlers are together and Preschoolers are together. All groupings are based on parent's drop off and pick up times. Throughout COA's academic hours children remain in their classrooms. The exception to this is when children are transitioning to another class due to advancing age and maturity. In this case, we notify the family in advance. During transitioning, teachers do use our movement log to track the students at all time. If there is a staff shortage because of sickness, etc. the management team members will step in the classroom to provide proper coverage and to maintain the ratio. As the safety of our children is our first priority, we will continue to monitor classrooms closely.

Standard #: 22VAC40-185-400-A
Complaint related: Yes
Description: Based on interviews conducted and records reviewed, it was determined that behavior guidance used did not promote a child's physical, intellectual, emotional, and social well being or growth. Staff involved did not interact with the child and one another to provide needed help, comfort, and support. Evidence: 1. On July 23, 2014, at approximately 5:30pm, a 4 year-old child (Child #1) was placed in a bathroom with the door shut and lights turned off for approximately 7-10 minutes because Staff #1 was "irritated" that the child was crying. 2. Prior to the incident, Child #1 had been crying for his grandmother (Staff #4, who works in a different classroom) much of the afternoon. Staff #3 reported hearing the child cry for "hours." 3. Staff #2 witnessed Staff #1 place Child #1 in the bathroom, and reported that there was no verbal exchange between them about the incident. Both staff remained in the connecting classroom while the child was in the bathroom crying. 4. Staff #3 entered the classroom, heard the child crying and told Staff #1 and #2 that they should call Staff #4, or the front desk for help. Neither was done. 5. At no time did any staff attempt to provide needed help, comfort, or support to Child #1. 6. Staff #4 was walking down the hallway and heard Child #1 crying. She opened the classroom door and entered the room and was told that Staff #1 had shut the child in the bathroom because he was crying. Staff #2 proceeded to open the bathroom door, retrieve the crying child who then left the room with Staff #4. 7. Child #1 reported to Staff #4 that Staff #1 had placed him in the bathroom because he was crying; and reported to Staff #5, that Staff #1 had placed him in the bathroom with the lights off and described it as "dark and scarey." 8. Documentation of the incident maintained at the center indicated that Staff #1 placed Child #1 in the bathroom and closed the door for approximately 7-10 minutes because she was irritated with the child because he would not stop crying for his mother.

Plan of Correction: #1 Based upon our conversation of the incident that occurred on July 24, 2014, information gathered by Children of America from staff #1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 clearly indicated that the door to the bathroom was not shut and the light was not off. Please note that Staff #4 & 5 are [identifying information redacted] and continue their employment at the center. The child has maintained consistent enrollment. As a result of our investigation Staff #1's employment was terminated on July 25th Staff #2's employment was terminated on July 28th as July 25th was a previously scheduled vacation day followed by the weekend. Both were terminated for not following COA's Behavior Guidance policy which states that we do not advocate the use of time out. Disciplinary action will be taking place if any employee does not obey and implement COA guidelines and regulations. #2 Staff #3 resigned her position before we began the termination process. Staff #4 [identifying information redacted] clearly states that Staff #3 account is untrue. #3 is correct and therefore called for termination of the two employees. #4 Based upon our investigation the only comment made by Staff #3 was why was the child crying." #5 We concur thus the termination of staff #1,2 #6 Staff #4 [identifying information redacted] walking down the hallway, hear child #1 crying and removed the child from the bathroom and she reported that the door was not shut nor was the light off, #7 We disagree with this statement as in our investigation the child made no such comment. #8 While the time frame listed is accurate, the door was not closed.

A compliance history is in no way a rating for a facility.

The online compliance history includes only information after July 1, 2003. In addition, the online compliance history includes information regarding adverse actions that may be the subject of a pending appeal. An adverse action is not final until a provider has exhausted or waived all due process rights. For compliance history prior to July 1, 2003, or information regarding the status of pending adverse actions, please contact the Licensing Inspector listed in the facility's information. The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is not responsible for any errors in or omissions from the compliance history information.


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