Bear child care facility where infant died allowed to reopen

Two-and-a-half weeks after an infant was killed at a Bear child care facility, the state has lifted its suspension of the facility’s license.

On Monday, the Office of Child Care Licensing formally allowed The Little People Child Development Center on Wrangle Hill Road to reopen.

The facility was closed on Sept. 5, the day 4-month-old Isabella Talton died there. Nineteen-year-old Dejoynay Ferguson, who worked in The Little People’s infant room, was charged with killing the baby, she said, because she would not stop crying, court documents show.

The suspension was ultimately lifted because “the imminent threat to the health and safety of children” was no longer present due to Ferguson’s arrest, the child care licensing office said.

The state office added that The Little People is “compliant with [state] regulations” and said Talton’s death “was not a systemic issue.”

Isabella Talton died at The Little People Child Development Center in Bear Thursday, Sept. 5. (Photo: Courtesy of Cardell Talton)

No previous ‘serious’ complaints

In its 11-year history, only 26 complaints had been lodged against The Little People — a number that’s increased by three since Talton’s death.

While those last three complaints, which allege inappropriate care, improper staff ratio and a complaint about a 4-year-old with a bruised cheek, are still open, only two of the 26 previous complaints were found to be substantiated, and neither was deemed “serious,” The News Journal reported.

The first, filed Aug. 12, 2008, alleged that employees were not wearing gloves and there were no snacks for children.

When a child care licensing specialist made an unannounced visit, facility owner Janice Palmer admitted they were out of gloves for the week, but said there was food.