Pattern of danger closes Knoxville daycare

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn, (WVLT) -- According to a statement from the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Helping Hands Child Care Center in West Knoxville was ordered to close after a series of violations.

Helping Hands Daycare in West Knoxville was ordered to close by the Tennessee Department of Human Services. (WVLT)

"Over the last year, Helping Hands Child Care has had a series of repeated and escalating violations of child care licensing rules." Said a representative from DHS. "The pattern of violations demonstrates a continuing inability to maintain compliance with licensing rules and an escalating level of risk for children in their care. Most recently, DHS received a complaint from a parent and upon investigation discovered that two preschool-aged children had been found in the parking lot unsupervised while their class was on the playground."

The incident involving the two unattended children was the most recent complaint, said DHS.

An Order of Summary Suspension was delivered to the Helping Hands Wednesday, May 15, which requires the facility to cease operations immediately.

There have been no reports of injuries at the daycare.

Past violations include adult to child ratio issues. According to DHS documents, an investigator performing a surprise visit observed one educator supervising two separate rooms of four and five-year-old children and another room of three to four-year-old children. In total, one educator was responsible for watching 12 children.

In another visit, just one educator was in charge of supervising nine toddlers.

The report said the daycare was cited for not completing the sign-in and sign-out sheet, inappropriate discipline after an educator was seen roughly jerking a child off their feet, and allowing a child to climb to the top of a bookshelf unnoticed.

The report outlines dozens more violations involving children's safety.

The full report shows all violations and describes every incident leading to the daycare's closure below.

Experts recommend that parents research daycare providers before enrolling. The state makes violation history available to anyone online. You can search each provider, based on county and zip code, here.

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