JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - The Louisiana Department of Education on Thursday revoked the license of an early learning center in Jefferson Parish and terminated its public funding after it said a toddler wandered away from the facility.
The department said the child hid near a vehicle in the parking lot before being found and returned. Staff allegedly failed to report the incident to the child's parent and the department's Division of Licensing as required.
The department inspected Alphabet Pre-School on 21st Street in Kenner on Sept. 14 after receiving a complaint the previous day that a 3-year-old girl was found hiding near a large silver truck in the parking lot of the facility, which is not enclosed and near a busy road. Another child's grandmother was leaving the facility that afternoon after picking up her grandchild and discovered the toddler.
After asking other adults in the parking lot if the child belonged to them, the grandmother escorted the young girl back to the front door of the center and returned her to a staff member, who was near the doorway. At that same time, it is reported that staff were inside searching for the missing child. It is unclear how long the child was outside of the center.
The center is now ineligible for public funding through the Child Care Assistance Program, which helps make child care more affordable for low-income families. The department has alerted families affected by this action and is working to identify safe, quality alternative options.
Alphabet Pre-School has 15 calendar days from receipt of the notice of revocation to appeal the department's decision.