State shutters town of Johnstown day care center

The Carousel Kids II location in the town of Johnstown was closed by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — Carousel Kids Preschool & Daycare in the town of Johnstown — open on Route 29A for 14 years — was shut down last month by the state for numerous violations that included one corrected for corporal punishment.

The state Office of Children and Family Services verified Friday that it closed the child care operation down on April 22. The center’s license was revoked.

“Every parent deserves access to quality, safe child care, which OCFS promotes through licensing, inspections and training for providers and their staff,” OCFS Assistant Director for Public Information Craig Smith stated. “When a provider puts children at risk of harm, OCFS works to help the provider come into compliance with state standards. When providers do not meet those standards, OCFS takes action.”

Smith said Carousel Kids Preschool & Daycare — located at 965 Route 29A – fell into that category.

“Due to a persistent pattern of non-compliance with state safety regulations, OCFS moved to revoke Carousel Kids’ license in September 2017,” he said. “The parties entered into a settlement and the child care program agreed to close by April 22, 2018.”

The Carousel building, which once housed up to 60 children aged infant to 12, was empty this week and basically gutted of its furniture. Swings still sat in the backyard, and plastic child toys were in front of the building with a “Free” sign behind them.

The state cited the day care for a violation regarding corporal punishment on April 7, 2017, which was corrected. The specific nature of that violation wasn’t spelled out by OCFS.

Carousel Kids owner Rochelle Sahler said Monday that OCFS had been “picking” on her Gloversville area day care over “stupid stuff.”

“I think it’s horrible what they did to the Gloversville children,” she said. “It was over petty nonsense.”

Sahler and her husband, David Sahler, own and still run two other Carousel Kids day care centers, both of which allows total capacities of 16 children.

They are located at: 4700 Route 30, Amsterdam; and the Sahler’s home at 137 Getman Road, Tribes Hill.

She blamed her previous director for many of the problems with the town of Johnstown Carousel Kids operation, but not her last acting director, Heather Samson.

David Sahler, who said 90 percent of the day care were public assistance clients he had trouble getting paid from, echoed several of the comments by his wife that the state is too picky in violations.

“We did have some issues with some of the staffing,” he stated.

He said in a “normal job,” an employer can fire someone and replace them immediately. But Sahler decried the lengthy state process to hire someone, which involves background checks and fingerprints.

“It takes time to get someone cleared,” he said. “It’s very time consuming.”

The town of Johnstown’s day care center’s Facebook page this week was still up and advertising a phone number that is now unusable. The Facebook message from a year ago said it was “under a new director & all new staff!”

But according to OCFS, the Route 29A day care had violations for some time. There have been enforcement actions since 2003, and 74 since last April.

“Other than children who are enrolled in kindergarten or a higher grade, no child may be accepted for care in a child care program unless the program has been furnished with a written statement signed by a health care provider verifying that the child is able to participate in child day care and currently appears to be free from contagious or communicable diseases,” a violation says. “A child’s medical statement must have been completed within the 12 months preceding the date of enrollment.”

Other violations cited by the state in the past year included:

∫ Suitable precautions must be taken to eliminate all conditions which may contribute to or create a fire hazard.

∫ “The program must keep documentation of immunization the child has received to date, in accordance with New York State Public Health Law.”

∫ Protective caps, covers or permanently installed obstructive devices must be used on all electrical outlets that are accessible to children.

∫ “In child day care centers where the licensed capacity is 45 or more children, the administrative/fiscal management functions and supervision functions may not be performed by a group teacher or assistant teacher.”

∫ “Suitable precautions must be taken to eliminate all conditions in areas accessible to children which pose a safety or health hazard.”

∫ “Children cannot be left without competent supervision at any time. Competent supervision includes awareness of and responsibility for the ongoing activity of each child. It requires that all children be within a teacher’s range of vision and that the teacher be near enough to respond when redirection or intervention strategies are needed. Competent supervision must take into account the child’s age emotional, physical, and cognitive development.”

∫ “There must be a director, group teacher or assistant teacher supervising all applicants, volunteers and persons in the process of approval.”

∫ “Children may not sleep or nap in car seats, baby swings, strollers, infant seats or bouncy seats unless otherwise prescribed by a health care provider. Should a child fall asleep in one of these devices, he or she must be moved to a crib/cot or other approved sleeping surface.”

∫ “In accordance with the provisions of Sections 413 and 415 of the Social Services Law, child day care center staff must report any suspected incidents of child abuse or maltreatment concerning a child receiving child day care to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, or cause such a report to be made, when such staff have reasonable cause to suspect that a child coming before them in their capacity as child day care center workers is an abused or maltreated child. This must be done in the following manner.”

By Kerry Minor

Leave a Reply