Dededo daycare shut down by Public Health - News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Dededo daycare shut down by Public Health

by Lannie Walker

Guam - For parents finding a good daycare is probably one of the hardest decisions to make, and typically at the top of the decision making process is the facility's cleanliness.  One daycare was recently shut down by the Department of Public Health, but even more alarming according to the owner, it hadn't been inspected in more than two decades. 

Maria Unsay, owner of the ABC123 Child Development Center in Dededo, is spending time this morning, not caring for children, but explaining to parents when the center may reopen.  "Please be patient, we are trying our best to do it," Unsay explained.

The daycare was temporarily closed after an inspection by Public Health's Division of Environmental Health.  Unsay says she was told they needed more teachers and must separate the children by age group. She says this was the first time the center was inspected in twenty years of operations.

"Our license was expired, they said, 'No, no way we gonna close this,'" said Unsay.  "It was April 15, supposed to be now.  We in and now we are in May already [sic]."

The Center receives $12,000-15,000 a month of federal money, under the Child Care Development Block Grant, but stands to lose that if they do not comply with public health regulations.  "It's really hard for us because we are affected," the owner continued.  "We just need the reassurance because pretty soon we will be out of job."

She says they were not given a deadline to comply, but are working to bring the Center up to standards as quickly as possible.  "It is very good, I think they, not only us, I think they trying to implement this to all the daycare, which is really good," Unsay told KUAM News.

The Center once had as many as 62 children, but now will bring that number down to 45.  Unsay says while she is scrambling to reopen, she is actually grateful to Public Health, saying, "I don't have any regrets because for the sake of the children it has to be followed."

In the meantime, it's not clear why the center hasn't been inspected, as Unsay claims, in 20 years. 

Public Health officials were unavailable for comment, unable to clarify how often daycare facilities are supposed to be inspected.  According to draft rules from 2008, they should be inspected every three months.

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