Anchorage daycare workers fired, accused of hitting kids, using derogatory names and sleeping on the job

Daycare issued warning notice, staff previously cited for lack of training
Anchorage daycare workers fired, accused of hitting kids, using derogatory names, sleep on job, daycare issued warning.
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 7:40 PM AKDT
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Content Warning: This article contains information that some readers might find disturbing

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Two teachers and the director of an Anchorage daycare facility were fired after a city investigation found staff members hit the children, fell asleep on the job, and called kids derogatory names, as well as other noncompliance issues noted by the Anchorage Department of Health.

The investigation centered around the Southcentral Foundation’s Employee Family Center on Tudor Centre Drive in Anchorage. The daycare facility is staffed by KinderCare, a national company composed of daycare workers who pride themselves on providing exceptional children’s services.

The Southcentral Foundation daycare is licensed to serve about 100 children ranging from infants to 12-year-olds. This past June the Anchorage Health Department — which regulates all licensed daycares within the municipality — received a report to investigate concerns surrounding various instances of possible child abuse and neglect. The department conducted an investigation from June 17 to July 13, 2022 and says it was able to substantiate allegations of improper activity by caregivers. According to the report filed to the health department, investigators witnessed:

  • children in the infant and toddler rooms being hit on their hands, arms, butts, and mouths for normal developmental behavior
  • children in the infant and toddler rooms having their mouths covered for crying
  • several staff members slept while caring for children, one while holding an infant in her arms
  • children being talked and/or yelled at to “shut up”
  • children being left alone on the diapering table
  • a child in the toddler room went up to a caregiver crying and the caregiver walked away
  • a caregiver was calling infants “big cry babies” and one child a “crack head”

The report states that on June 22 while conducting health and safety observations, a specialist was concerned about exposure after witnessing an infant sleeping in a thick winter sleeper in a classroom that was 78.1 degrees Fahrenheit. The specialist also reported a caregiver ignored a crying child who came to her for comfort, then read one page of a book and said “the end” to the child, who was still sitting and listening.

As a result, the city issued the daycare a warning notice. The notice required KinderCare to submit a plan of correction to the department by Aug. 10, 2022. The action was completed and the facility was brought back into compliance.

The daycare was also found to be out of compliance one month prior. In May, the health department conducted its annual review of the facility and inspectors found a series of training issues with staff members. The report states that multiple staff members had not completed their required health and safety courses and staff also failed to complete the minimum number of annual training hours required to maintain their positions. At that time, the facility was issued a plan of correction.

On Thursday, Alaskas News Source visited SCF Foundation Family Center’s daycare.

A receptionist refused to open the door and told the reporter, through the lobby speaker, “we have nothing to say, you can call KinderCare communications.”

A security guard then came outside and escorted the reporter to SCF’s administrative building, across the street, to speak with someone in the public relations department.

“At KinderCare, nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of the children in our care,” Moran wrote. “We take all concerns about safety seriously and have a protocol we follow any time a concern is raised. Part of that protocol includes self-reporting any concerns to state licensing officials and working with them to look into the matter, as we did here when the concerns were first brought to our attention in June. We also took swift action by terminating the teachers directly involved with these incidents. Earlier this month we submitted an action plan to licensing, detailing the steps we will take to ensure our teachers provide the highest quality care, such as retraining our teachers and staff on a variety of topics, including proper child guidance and their responsibilities as mandated reporters. Since these concerns were first brought to our attention we’ve shared information about the allegations, the investigation, and our corrective action plan with center families”.

One daycare parent who asked to remain anonymous said that the facility has already undergone tremendous improvements. She says the interim administrator is proactively addressing issues and continues to maintain an open dialogue with parents, even holding a town hall meeting to discuss their concerns.

The Southcentral Foundation said in an email that it contracts with KinderCare to provide staff members trained to operate the daycare, and stated that they will monitor the company’s progress while implementing the new corrective action plan.

Inspection reports for daycare facilities are available on the municipal website.

If you’d like to check out your child’s daycare, you can view inspection reports online. Just click on this link to Anchorage daycare inspection reports and search the health department’s database.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, resources are available on the Alaska Children’s Alliance and Alaska Children’s Trust websites. To report abuse or neglect, call the state’s hotline at 1-800-478-4444 or the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.