BOISE, Idaho — Less than 24 hours after news broke about the Department of Health and Welfare shutting down Meridian childcare facility, Healthy Beginnings Childcare, it’s business as usual at two other childcare facilities that are also owned by the same person – Kathleen Lawrence.
“That provider owns three facilities that we’re aware of, but we only closed one,” Aubrie Hunt, the Idaho Childcare Program specialist, said.
Health and welfare shut down Healthy Beginnings after multiple investigations showed employees failed to maintain proper standards.
Violations included employees caring for too many children or lacking the proper credentials to care for children, as well as incidents including ants and rodent feces in the kitchen pantry.
“Her other two facilities were recently inspected and found to be in compliance, and we are allowing her to operate them,” Hunt said.
Those facilities are the Trailblazers Learning Center and Creative Discoveries Learning and both facilities are in Boise.
So how is it possible for the owner to continue to oversee the other childcare facilities, after having a different facility shut down?
“That facility had their license revoked and that facility may not operate under that ownership for 5 years or participate in the Idaho childcare program, but it was just that facility,” Hunt said.
Despite the recent incident, the Department of Health and Welfare want families to feel confident about childcare in Idaho.
“As I was looking at the comments on this incident, I think I saw a lot of fear and that’s something that shouldn’t be there,” Hunt said. “Most providers are doing an excellent job at providing care for Idaho’s children and they work really hard every day, but parents should still be diligent and interact with their providers.”
Families can also check inspection results here.
KTVB reached out to the owner of the facilities for comment, but they have not responded.