Proper licensure is vital to the operation of childcare facilities around the country. Such qualifications speak volumes to parents; a valid license shows that you're up to date on the latest regulations and that you can be trusted to care for their children. When someone files a complaint about you with your state's licensing board, your license may be jeopardized, whether the allegations are true or not.
State regulatory agencies must investigate complaints – the safety of children is often on the line. When an agency believes state policies have been violated, they often suspend or revoke the license of the child development professional in question. Should you learn that your professional license is under fire, it's a good idea to hire a qualified professional license defense attorney. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense team works tirelessly to protect the rights of licensed childcare workers around the country. We can fight accusations of misconduct and do whatever it takes to save your business or career.
Accusations May Result in Child Development Professional License Suspension or Revocation
A vast range of offenses may result in disciplinary action on your professional license. Most have to do with the violation of state regulations, standards of ethical conduct, or the violation of public trust. Examples include:
- Child abuse or neglect. Parents entrust childcare facilities to protect their kids. Allegations of abuse frequently result in the shutdown of such facilities.
- Inadequate supervision. When the ratio of children to adults exceeds state regulations, providers may lose their license.
- Sanitation violations. Minimum sanitation standards must be met. Failure to provide a clean, safe place for children and the facility may be considered unsafe by investigators.
- Building violations. Providers must foster safe environments for children. Failing to meet the fire code can lead to the loss of license.
- Criminal convictions. A clean criminal record is required for childcare professionals in most states. This is especially true of crimes involving kids or crimes of moral turpitude. Should you apply for a license with such a conviction on your record, you'll likely be denied. If you're convicted of a serious crime while possessing a license, it may be revoked.
- Exceeding the number of children allowable per license. Some states have specific numbers of children a provider may care for at one time. Exceed this number, and your license may be suspended or revoked.
- Failing inspections. Regulatory boards perform routine inspections. Fail to pass such an inspection, and your license may be jeopardized.
Potential Consequences for License Violations
Child safety is the main priority of state licensing boards. When they learn of allegations of neglect or abuse, they are often quick to suspend the license of the child development professional in question pending an investigation. While a license may be revoked if there is compelling evidence of a violation, not every complaint automatically results in the loss of one's license. Depending on the situation state regulators may impose alternative disciplinary measures that permit one to retain their license. For instance:
- License suspension. You may be limited or restricted from operating for a specific time period or until a set of criteria is met.
- Fines. The board may impose monetary penalties.
- Operational limits. Once your childcare facility is approved by the board, you may be allowed to operate under restrictions (i.e., a limited number of children within a particular age range).
Disciplinary Proceedings for Child Development Professionals
The process of disciplining child development professional licenses varies from one state to the next. Licensing boards for childcare typically have a wide range of regulatory authority and require little evidence to enforce penalties for alleged violations. What's more, when allegations are grave, disciplinary actions may be swiftly enacted. Generally, the disciplinary process proceeds as follows:
Failed Inspection or Complaint
Disciplinary actions against licensed childcare workers are often triggered by:
- A complaint with the board filed by a member of the public
- A state inspection that uncovers violations
The state regulatory board then launches an investigation into the complaint. This may lead to investigators appearing unannounced to interview staff and parents, or to look through documentation.
Action and Determination
Upon completion of the investigation, the board will confirm that misconduct occurred or dismiss the complaint entirely. If it's the former, the board will choose which type of penalty to levy.
Request for Administrative Hearing
The state licensing board for childcare licensure has the right to penalize you without a hearing. You can appeal such a decision by requesting a hearing, though. This is your opportunity to present the facts and petition to have your penalty reversed or rescinded.
How a Professional License Defense Attorney Can Help
If you're facing complaints or an investigation into your work as a childcare professional, it's important to seek the input of a qualified professional license defense attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team can assist by:
- Assessing the complaint and surrounding circumstances to determine the most effective defense approach
- Acting as your representative in front of investigators and the board
- Compiling and presenting evidence in support of your position
- Negotiating for the dismissal of the cases, reduced penalties, or the expungement of your record
- Serving as your representative during the hearing to challenge penalties imposed by the board
What to Do After License Suspension, Revocation
Should the state licensing board decide to suspend or revoke your license, it's important not to lose hope. An experienced license defense attorney can help you apply for the reinstatement of your license, especially if you've acted in good faith during disciplinary proceedings. We can assist with the following:
- Drafting a petition for license reinstatement, accompanied by relevant evidence
- Facilitating the payment of any fines imposed on you by the board
- Managing documentation necessary to process your petition
- Serving as your representative when petitioning the licensing board
- Assisting you in fulfilling any conditions required for license reinstatement
How the Lento Law Firm Can Help
Given the emphasis that state licensing boards place on child safety, even the most minor of allegations can trigger license suspensions and violations. If you've been accused of wrongdoing, you may not receive a fair trial or hearing. When the board believes you're culpable, they have the right to take action against you without further deliberation. That's why it's so important to hire an attorney at the first opportunity to do so. It's your best chance to receive a fair hearing and ensure that your side of the story is heard. A qualified license defense attorney can work with the board and have your complaint dismissed or find alternatives to losing your license altogether.
Attorney Joseph Lento and his Professional License Defense Team have extensive experience handling disciplinary cases with state boards across the country. With your license on the line, don't take any risks – seek our guidance as soon as you learn of an investigation. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 or online today to see how we can assist you.