Hammond day care fires one, reprimands others

2013-05-16T18:52:00Z 2013-05-17T07:04:15Z Hammond day care fires one, reprimands othersMarisa Kwiatkowski marisa.kwiatkowski@nwi.com, (219) 662-5333 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Multiple teachers have been reprimanded and at least one person fired in the wake of a state investigation into Northwest Family Services, state records show.

The Indiana Bureau of Child Care revoked the Hammond facility's child care center license in March after state inspectors found 117 violations, state records show. Northwest Family Services is appealing that revocation and continues to operate.

Most of the violations cited by state inspectors related to problems with Northwest Family Services' building, including lighting issues, lack of hot water, broken equipment and an unsafe playground, said Marni Lemons, deputy communications director of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. The Bureau of Child Care is a division of the FSSA.

Northwest Family Services also was admonished not to engage in "cruel, harsh, unusual, humiliating or frightening methods of discipline, including threatening the use of physical punishment," state records show.

Earlier this month, Northwest Family Services provided Indiana officials with a detailed list of its efforts to fix the problems uncovered by state inspectors. The facility fired at least one staff member, reprimanded multiple teachers, reminded staff not to leave children unattended and made repairs to its building, state records show.

David Armistead, executive director of Northwest Family Services, could not be reached Thursday for comment. He previously told The Times the facility would work with the state and that children in the facility were never in danger.

Lemons said state inspectors will continue to make monthly visits to Northwest Family Services while the facility appeals its license revocation.

State funding is at stake for the day care facility. Northwest Family Services received $680,953 from the FSSA in 2012, Lemons said.

The Indiana Department of Education also suspended funding to the Hammond facility earlier this year, citing "serious deficiencies" in the facility's operation, state records show.

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