We Defend Connecticut Child Care Center Licenses
Connecticut licenses child care centers, group child care homes, and family child care homes across the state. Connecticut's Office of Early Childhood licenses more than four thousand such facilities from Bridgeport to New Haven, Stamford, Hartford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury, and other Connecticut cities and towns. Child care providers everywhere have a wonderfully humane and encouraging profession in which to engage. Yet, if you are a Connecticut child care provider, the state's large population and favorable economics can contribute to an especially rewarding profession.
But you must maintain your Connecticut child care provider license in good standing if you expect to continue to reap those rewards. The state's Office of Early Childhood accepts and acts on complaints against licensees, suspending and revoking the licenses of child care centers that do not meet the state's rigorous standards. You may have many questions about defending the Office's professional disciplinary charges. Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team for your best outcome. We are available to defend you whether your facility is in any of the above cities or another Connecticut location. Let us help you preserve your Connecticut child care provider license and profession. Call 888.535.3686 or complete this contact form now for Connecticut professional disciplinary defense.
Types of Connecticut Child Care Providers
The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood licenses four different forms of child care providers: (1) child care centers caring for more than twelve children outside their home; (2) group child care homes caring for seven to twelve children in a home-like setting that is not a private home; (3) family child care homes caring for up to six children in a private home; and (4) youth camps. The following discussion primarily addresses child care centers with periodic references to group child care and family child care homes. Connecticut Statute Section 19a-77 defines each type of licensed child care provider.
Connecticut Child Care Provider Licensure
The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood carries out the state's mandate to license child care providers operating within the state. Connecticut Statute Section 19a-80 requires that any child care provider operating within the state must have a license from the Office of Early Childhood: “No person, group of persons, association, organization, corporation, institution or agency, public or private, shall maintain a child care center or group child care home without a license” issued under the law. Connecticut law and regulations the Office adopts under legislative authority details the license requirements. You doubtless worked hard to qualify for your Connecticut child care provider license. Don't lose it to disciplinary charges. Let our Professional License Defense Team help.
Early Childhood National Centers
Your Connecticut child care provider license may be your only child care license. You may not have operated as a child care provider in another state. Guard your Connecticut child care provider license against disciplinary charges. Discipline in Connecticut could affect your ability to move your child care professional practice to another state and obtain a similar license there. The Early Childhood National Centers promote interstate child care background checks. Connecticut is among the many National Fingerprint File states. Many other states also participate in the National Fingerprint Files while also requiring interstate sex offender registry, child abuse registry, and criminal background checks. In short, disciplinary trouble in Connecticut is likely to complicate or prevent your child care provider licensure in another state, just as trouble in other states would affect your Connecticut child care provider license. Fight your Connecticut child care provider license disciplinary charges up front now rather than lose opportunities later in other states.
Connecticut Child Care Provider Licensing Authority
Connecticut Statute Section 19a-79 authorizes the Office of Early Childhood to adopt regulations setting forth the licensing requirements for child care providers. The statutes and regulations address the child care provider's physical plant, selection and training of qualified staff, administration of finances and records, and child care, security, and safety. They also authorize initial and periodic inspections, reporting requirements, and license renewal. If you do not meet those licensing requirements, you won't gain, retain, or renew your child care provider license. Let us help if you have disputes with the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood regarding your license or renewal application or face disciplinary charges to suspend and revoke your license for failing to continue to meet the state's requirements.
Connecticut Early Childhood Office Regulatory Authority
Connecticut's Office of Early Childhood does more than simply license qualifying child care providers. The Office also monitors, inspects, regulates, and disciplines child care providers. Connecticut Statute Section 19a-79-7a expressly conditions the issuance or renewal of a license on the applicant's compliance with the Office's regulations. The same law requires the Office to make at least one unannounced visit and other inspections within every two-year license renewal period. Connecticut Statute Section 19a-80 expressly authorizes the Office to suspend or revoke the license of a child care provider not meeting the state standards. Don't doubt the authority of the Office of Early Childhood to inspect, regulate, and discipline child care providers. Protect your license against discipline with our help.
Connecticut Early Childhood Office Disciplinary Actions
If you suffer disciplinary action at the hands of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood licensing officials, you won't be able to hide your discipline from parents, regulators from other agencies, local law enforcement, friends, family members, or the public. The Office of Early Childhood publishes disciplinary reports online for all the world to see. Those reports include the provider's name, address, license number, and the nature of the disciplinary finding. Anyone can use that public information to request the full report, including its factual findings of wrongdoing. Those public records of discipline may remain available indefinitely, leaving a mark on your professional record having long-term impacts that you may not presently even foresee. Don't assume any confidentiality in the outcome of disciplinary proceedings. Don't put aside or put off your vigorous defense. Get the help now of our Professional License Defense Team.
Connecticut Child Care Provider Disciplinary Sanctions
Connecticut Statute Section 19a-84 titled “Suspension or Revocation of License” expressly authorizes the Office of Early Childhood to suspend or revoke the license of a child care provider who does not continue to meet all standards for licensure. You could lose your license in a disciplinary proceeding the Office's officials bring against you. The same statutory section authorizes the Office to immediately suspend your license “[i]f the commissioner finds that public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action, and incorporates a finding to that effect in his or her order….” Examples would include an unreasonably hazardous condition the licensee fails to immediately remove or the damage or destruction of a required part of the provider's facility.
Connecticut Statute Section 19a-84 does not expressly mention other potential sanctions short of license suspension or revocation. But the statute does refer twice to notifying the license of the “revocation or suspension or the intended licensure action.” The statute thus implies that the Office has the authority to impose other sanctions short of license suspension or revocation. While you may be concerned about that other authority, it may give us the opportunity to negotiate with disciplinary officials for a condition or conditions that you can readily meet without interrupting your child care provider practice. Keeping your doors open while rectifying situations the disciplinary officials identify can mean saving your professional practice. Any interruption by suspension, even a relatively short-term one, can frustrate parents while also clearly notifying them of unsafe or unhealthy conditions to which their children were exposed. Let us help you negotiate conditions you can readily meet in lieu of license suspension or revocation.
Grounds for Connecticut Child Care Provider Discipline
Connecticut Office of Early Childhood officials must have grounds for their disciplinary actions. They may not suspend or revoke your child care provider license arbitrarily. They must instead develop an evidentiary record and make factual findings that they can defend on appeal or in a court review if necessary. Connecticut's child care provider laws and regulations expressly list only limited grounds for license suspension or revocation. The authority the statutes grant the Office of Early Childhood to regulate child care providers surely implies other potential grounds. Consider those grounds below, together with how our attorneys may be able to help you defend the charges.
Abuse and Neglect as Grounds for Connecticut Child Care License Discipline
Abuse or neglect of a child or children at the child care provider's premises is the primary ground for license suspension or revocation. Connecticut Statute Section 19a-80f requires disciplinary officials to immediately investigate reports of abuse and neglect at the child care provider's facility. The Office of Early Childhood investigates abuse and neglect allegations jointly with the Department of Children and Families, the agency responsible for removing and protecting children from abuse and neglect. Abuse or neglect would be grounds for immediate license suspension followed by revocation after hearing. Abuse and neglect allegations are the most serious allegations a child care provider can face.
The licensing statute does not itself define abuse or neglect. The licensing statute does, however, list these examples of abuse and neglect: a child's death on the premises or as a result of conditions on the premises, serious harm to a child on the premises or as a result of conditions on the premises, risk of serious injury or emotional harm, arrest of a person due to abuse or neglect of a child at the premises, or a child's sexual abuse. Any of those events or conditions may be grounds for license suspension and revocation. Examples of conditions exposing children to the risk of serious injury include:
- exposed electrical wiring or electrical outlets;
- peeling lead-based paint on facility surfaces;
- staircases without railings and gates;
- decks or platforms without railings;
- broken glass, exposed metal edges, or other cut risks;
- inadequate ventilation, heating, or cooling;
- lack of clean water and heated water;
- inadequate or unsanitary toilet facilities;
- the absence of rooms of adequate size;
- the absence of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire escape routes;
- inadequate lighting;
- the absence of cots, tables, chairs, counters, and other necessary furnishings;
- spoiled, exposed, unsanitary food and food preparation;
- playgrounds without fencing and gates, near roadways; and
- failure to supervise or remove children who abuse other children.
Defending abuse and neglect charges may involve proving that the child who died or suffered serious injury did so from other causes not attributable to the provider's alleged abuse and neglect. Children do suffer death or injury from disease and other causes without the fault of the care provider. Expert medical testimony may be necessary in defense of death or serious injury charges. Defending charges based on conditions exposing children to injury risks generally requires proving that the conditions did not expose children to unacceptable risks, that the provider was reasonably unaware of the condition despite reasonable inspection, and that the provider has already immediately corrected any endangering conditions. Defending charges based on abuse by other children may involve proving that the other children were not abusive, that the provider was reasonably unaware of any abuse despite reasonable monitoring and supervision, and that any abusive children have already been removed.
Protective Services Petition as Grounds for Connecticut Child Care License Discipline
Connecticut Statute Section 19a-80f also includes as grounds for a license disciplinary proceeding whenever the Department of Children and Families files a petition to terminate parental rights or for a change in a child's placement because of abuse or neglect. In other words, the Office of Early Childhood does not necessarily need to conduct its own investigation into the alleged abuse and neglect but may rely on the Department of Children and Families' investigation and findings, provided that the child care provider had due process in that proceeding. Defending such charges may involve proving that the other proceeding did not result in any adverse findings showing endangering conditions.
Failure to Cooperate as Grounds for Connecticut Child Care License Discipline
Connecticut Administrative Code Section 19a-79-3a(h) requires that you grant immediate access to agency officials seeking to inspect your child care facility and its records. The regulation states expressly,
“Failure to grant the department immediate access to the child day care center or group day care home, its staff or its records or failure to provide the department with documentation obtained by the facility about child abuse or neglect or conviction records, upon request of the department, shall be grounds for suspension or revocation of the license or denial of issuance or renewal of the license.”
The same regulation does permit you to deny access to agency officials who fail to show official identification. We may be able to help you defend disciplinary charges on the basis that you lawfully refused access because officials did not display the required identification or that the staff person who refused access was innocently unaware of the access requirement. Arranging a prompt re-inspection while showing that immediate inspection would not have revealed any violations may help defend and defeat the charges.
Application Fraud as Grounds for Connecticut Child Care License Discipline
Deliberate false statements or misleading omissions on your license application or renewal application would be implied grounds for license suspension or revocation. Connecticut Statute Section 19a-80 requires the Office of Early Childhood to include a statement on the license application form that the Office may punish any false statement on the form. Connecticut Statute Section 19a-87a also makes it a misdemeanor for a child care provider's employee to misrepresent their criminal record and history. Applicants generally make deliberately false statements or misleading omissions to conceal conditions that would result in license denial or refusal to renew an existing license. Concealing a criminal conviction, building code violation, injury to or death of a child, or similar material information could endanger children.
Defense of a disciplinary charge for application fraud may involve showing that the application was fully accurate, that any inaccuracies or misleading omissions were not intentional but instead innocent mistakes, and that any inaccuracies or omissions were not material to the application's approval.
Unauthorized Practice as Grounds for Connecticut Child Care License Discipline
You could also suffer license discipline if you operated your facility without a license for a period, such as before you received your initial license or after your license lapsed and before you renewed it. You could also suffer license discipline if you operate beyond the scope of your license, such as with too many children for your approved license and facility. Connecticut Statute Section 19a-87 and other similar provisions prohibit child care services without a license and punish child care providers who operate without a license. Defending unauthorized practice disciplinary charges may involve showing that you did not operate during an unlicensed period or provide services beyond your license's scope, that you were innocently unaware of your license's lapse, that you promptly renewed the license, and that no children suffered any harm or were exposed to any endangering condition.
Criminal Conviction as Grounds for Connecticut Child Care License Discipline
Connecticut Statute Section 19a-87a requires licensed child care providers to notify the Office of Early Childhood whenever the provider or one of its employees suffers criminal conviction. The statute states expressly, “Failure to comply with the notification requirement may result in the suspension or revocation of the license or the imposition of any action set forth in regulation….” The statute also threatens a civil penalty up to one-hundred dollars for each day after the provider knew of the conviction. You must notify the Office as soon as you are aware of criminal convictions of “the owner, conductor, operator or maintainer of the center or home or of any person employed therein in a position connected with the provision of care to a child receiving child care services….” Criminal conviction may reflect unfitness for child care and endangerment of children. Connecticut Statute Section 19a-87a lists the felony crimes that authorize denial, suspension, or revocation of a license. Those crimes include:
- the use, threatened use, or attempted use of violent force against a person;
- cruelty to others;
- injury or risk of injury to children;
- impairing the morals of children;
- abandonment of children under six years old; or
- any other felony committed against a person under eighteen years old.
Defense of disciplinary charges involving criminal conviction may require proving that the conviction did not occur, was not of a person connected with the child care provider, was not a disqualifying conviction, or has been reversed, pardoned, or expunged, indicating innocence or rehabilitation. Defense may alternatively involve showing that the provider promptly terminated the convicted person or that the convicted person did not occupy a role in providing child care services.
Other Grounds for Connecticut Child Care License Discipline
You could face disciplinary charges and license suspension or revocation for any other violation of regulatory requirements. Those issues could include inadequate staffing relative to the number of children on site, unqualified staff without the necessary CPR and other training, inadequate facilities, inadequate recordkeeping, and food or medications improperly stored, handled, or administered. Let our attorneys help you evaluate and respond to the disciplinary charges. Regulators are not always interested in shutting down child care providers. Compliance may be their primary goal, not punishment. We may be able to help you show that you can comply, desire to comply, and have complied since notice of the charges.
Connecticut Child Care Provider Disciplinary Procedures
You have the constitutional and statutory right to due process when you face the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood disciplinary charges against your child care provider license. State actors may not generally deprive you of your property and liberty interest in a professional license without providing you with fair notice of the charges and a reasonable opportunity to tell your side of the story. Connecticut Statute Section 19a-84 states the procedures the Office of Early Childhood must follow when seeking license suspension or revocation. Our Professional License Defense Team can help you invoke those procedures, including by appearing on your behalf, negotiating for early voluntary dismissal, presenting evidence and cross-examining witnesses at any hearing, and taking appeals.
Premier Child Care License Defense in Connecticut
Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team for your best outcome. We are available to defend you whether your facility is in Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Hartford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury, or another Connecticut city or town. We may be able to help you preserve your Connecticut child care provider license. Call 888.535.3686 or complete this contact form now.