State looks to close Indianapolis daycare after arrest of former worker in child molestation case

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INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 23, 2014) – A north side daycare has received a shutdown order from the state of Indiana after an employee was arrested in a child molestation case last month.

"We have taken action to revoke the child care licence for "Children's Choice," said Melanie Brizzi, director, Early Childhood and Out of School Learning.

The Indiana Family and Social Service Administration sent the letter to Children’s Choice Learning Center last week. The license revocation letter accuses the daycare of violating a number of rules, including failure to immediately report allegations of suspected child abuse.

"They didn't follow the regulations for reporting, so we are taking action on that," said Brizzi.

An inspector cited Children’s Choice for 23 violations, including telling other employees about the suspected abuse and failing to follow its own policies, the letter said. The letter also said the daycare did a poor job of documenting the case and alleges that workers, while trained to detect abuse and briefed on reporting procedures, did not fully understand the requirements.

Ali Al-Awadi

Ali Al-Awadi

Ali Al-Awadi, 20, Indianapolis, was charged with child molestation last month after a 4-year-old girl said he touched her inappropriately at the childcare center, located at St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital.

"Be observant, stop by at different times just to see what's going on," said Brizzi.

According to court documents, the daycare didn’t report the incident to authorities for nearly 20 hours. Her parents were not immediately notified either, court documents show. State law requires such incidents to be reported within an hour.

"We require it to be reported immediately because if there is a risk to children, we want to eliminate that risk as soon as possible," said Brizzi.

The letter gives the daycare 30 days to appeal the order to revoke its license. The daycare is appealing the order, and can stay open as the process plays out.

Bright Horizons Children’s Centers LLC operates the facility, and issued the following statement to FOX59:

“Our new center leadership team has been working closely with licensing, and they have implemented a corrective action plan to ensure that the center is in full compliance. We are fully committed to providing the highest quality care and education to the children and families we serve and to supporting families in every way possible.  We were surprised to receive this notice because we had been working with licensing to address the violations, but our new center leadership team intends to continue working closely with them to reverse this decision.”

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