Mandeville daycare loses license after toddler runs away; owner doesn’t tell mother

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MANDEVILLE – The Louisiana Department of Education has revoked the license of a St. Tammany Parish daycare after a toddler was found wandering in the street.

A driver said he had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting a three-year-old child who was running down the street after escaping from the yard of Kidzone Preschool on Highway 59 in Mandeville, according to the Department of Education.

The staff of the preschool reportedly did not realize that a child had escaped until the driver walked up holding the child.

“It’s fortunate this young child is safe, but that doesn’t change the fact this early learning center failed in its responsibility to care for its students,” State Superintendent John White said. “We cannot tolerate such negligence, nor can we allow child care facilities like this one to operate in Louisiana.”

The mother of the child was not provided with all of the details of the incident, according to the Department.

A state licensing official investigating the daycare filled in the mother after she arrived during the official’s visit.

The daycare owner, while acknowledging that there had been an incident, said she didn’t know that she needed to file a report because the child was not “lost,” according to the Department.

The owner also failed to notify the Department of Licensing.

This center is now ineligible for public funding through the Child Care Assistance Program, which helps make child care more affordable for low-income families. The Department has alerted families affected by this action and is working closely with them to identify safe, quality alternative options.

Kidzone Preschool has 15 calendar days from receipt of the notice of revocation to appeal the Department’s decision.