Dozens of frustrated parents gathered at a Greenwood church Wednesday night, to learn more about the impending closing of its daycare.
Little Angels Daycare and Preschool at White River Baptist Church has been served with a letter of registration termination by the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration.
The letter, dated Jan. 31, found that the church-operated daycare violated state code after a state investigator discovered the church deacon had been banned from the property in 2012 after a 5-year-old girl accused him of improperly touching her.
Greenwood Police detectives could not substantiate the allegation, but state child protective services investigators did.
“We had conversations with the facility letting them know that if they wanted to operate as a registered childcare ministry they were not able to have this individual on the grounds and reached an agreement at that time,” said Melanie Brizzi, child care administrator of the Bureau of Child Care. “When we went back on Jan. 30, he was found to be on the premises.”
Now, about 130 children, including 7-year-old Blake Driver, have less than a week to find alternative child care. The shutdown willtake effect Feb. 13.
“I love it very much and I’ve been here since I was a baby,” said Driver. “They’re like family to us.”
Driver’s mother was one of many parents who expressed their frustrations at a meeting at the church Wednesday night. Many parents also wanted to stand up for the church leader.
“My mom graduated with Pastor Steve. And I know that they’re good people and it’s literally tearing them apart,” said Ali Driver.
“He would do anything that he can to protect them,” added Sean LeMaster, whose daughter has been going to the daycare since she was a few weeks old.
Parent Jason Smith felt the same way.
“It’s a godsend,” Smith told Fox 59. “This place, this staff, and the pastor and all the folks here are top notch across the board.”
Smith said he hasn’t made any arrangements for his children yet, because he hopes the FSSA will change its decision.
An attorney for the church plans to contact the FSSA on Thursday morning and could also file a temporary injunction in an effort to keep the daycare open a little while longer.