Kenner day care loses license after missing toddler found hiding in parking lot

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Alphabet Pre-School photo courtesy Google Earth

KENNER, La. — The Louisiana Department of Education on Thursday revoked the license of an early learning center in Kenner and terminated its public funding after a toddler was able to escape the facility and hide near a vehicle in the parking lot.

The Department inspected Alphabet Pre-School at 2605 21st St. in Kenner on September 14 after receiving a complaint the previous day that a 3-year-old girl was found hiding near a large silver truck in the parking lot of the facility, which is not enclosed and near a busy road.

Another child’s grandmother was leaving the facility that afternoon after picking up her grandchild and discovered the toddler. After asking other adults in the parking lot if the child belonged to them, the grandmother escorted the young girl back to the front door of the center and returned her to a staff member who was near the doorway.

Staff were reportedly looking for the missing child inside when she was returned. It is unclear how long the child was missing.

The day care’s staff failed to report the incident to the child’s parent or the Department of Education.

“We are thankful this young child is safe, but we cannot ignore the negligence displayed by this early learning center,” said State Superintendent John White. “It failed in its responsibility to care for its students, and for that, there are consequences.”

This center is now ineligible for public funding through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), 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.

Alphabet Pre-School has 15 calendar days from receipt of the notice of revocation to appeal the Department’s decision. Providers who have had their licenses revoked are ineligible to apply for another license for two years.