UPDATE: A Cedar Rapids daycare center is under investigation after a fight allegedly broke out between two teachers in front of a group of young children earlier this summer.
Autumn Craft, director of resource development at Waypoint, said Friday that Waypoint ParkRidge Kids Child Development Center, 5830 C Street SW, is currently under investigation by the Iowa Department of Human Services.
None of the children being cared for at the time of the incident were at any type of risk and both employees were suspended when an internal investigation was launched the next day — in accordance with the Waypoint’s procedure when an incident occurs, Craft said. Police are not involved in the investigation.
The investigation stems from a brief physical altercation that occurred between two teachers on July 17, Craft said.
Waypoint’s internal investigation determined one employee involved in the incident would leave the daycare center, and one would remain employed, Craft said. The employee that remained is on paid administrative leave as DHS completes its investigation.
“Management at Waypoint did conclude neither the parents or DHS needed to be notified at the time considering it was an employee matter, and not a threat to the children’s safety,” Craft said.
The alleged incident was reported to the DHS on Sept. 13, indicating children were at risk because one of the teachers involved in the initial fight was allowed to stay on staff. The identities of complainants are withheld by DHS administrative rule.
Shortly after DHS began contacting parents to investigate the incident, Craft said Waypoint management scheduled a meeting with parents of the children who were affected by the incident so they could talk about their concerns.
The daycare center is currently taking steps to develop an action plan to make sure a similar incident doesn’t happen again, she said.
“It’s always our goal to provide high quality nurturing environment and the kids — their health and safety is so important to us,” Craft said. “We do have a very good program out there, and it’s unfortunate sometimes these things do happen and it’s our goal to make sure we have a plan of action of what we’re going to do to notify our parents.”
The Waypoint ParkRidge Kids Child Development Center voluntarily participates in the Iowa DHS’ Quality Rating System, maintaining a ‘Level 4′ rating of 5 possible levels. The rating system awards points to licensed day care centers, pre-schools and school-based programs based on their licensing status, education and experience of staff, health and safety, training and self assessment and whether they are accredited.
Cody Banes, who said her 2-year-old son was one of the children present during the altercation, said Friday that she hadn’t had any issues with the day care before the July incident. Banes said she was upset that she wasn’t notified about the incident until earlier this month, nearly two months after it occurred.
“I was never under the impression that my child was unsafe there in any way,” Banes said. Her son has been attending the center since he was four months old.
She said the daycare is requiring parents to pay for services while they come up with an action plan, which she opposes.
“I just want other parents to know about this disgrace,” Banes said in an email. “We have paid top dollar to what we thought was a respected Cedar Rapids daycare and that has gotten us involved in a DHS investigation, made us feel unsafe as to our children’s care for the past years, and has shown us that, to them, our children are dollar signs.”
Amy McCoy, public information officer for the Iowa DHS, said the next licensing report for the center is supposed to be filed by Oct. 13. That report should include any incidents or complaints brought to DHS’ attention, she said.
McCoy said the scope of an incident can have bearing on what is the appropriate notice to parents, DHS, or police. She said a licensing complaint has been initiated, and a report is pending. Childcare providers are required to provide notices to parents when there is an incident that involves their child, she said.