Barbara Douglas Group Child Care is shut down by the state
Facility closed after
toddler wanders into
middle of Route 220
TOWANDA TOWNSHIP - The state on Friday shut down the Barbara Douglas Group Child Care facility in Towanda Township after a toddler in its care was found standing unsupervised in the middle of busy U.S. Route 220.
Staff at the day care facility were unaware that the one-year-old had exited from the facility, said Anne C. Bale, deputy press secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
The Department of Public Welfare accused the day care facility and its owner, Barbara Douglas of Towanda, of "gross incompetence, negligence, and misconduct in operating a facility (which is) likely to constitute (an) immediate and serious danger to the life or health of the children" in its care, according to a copy of the DPW's written order that shut the facility down.
A representative of the DPW did an on-site investigation on Sept. 18, a day after the incident occurred, and verified that the toddler had exited from the facility "and was alone and unsupervised standing in the middle of highway Route 220," according to written information released by the DPW.
The toddler was found by a passing motorist, according to the DPW.
The child was alone and unsupervised outside of the facility for approximately 20 minutes, the DPW said.
In connection with the Sept. 17 incident, the DPW cited the facility for a number of violations of state regulations related to the supervision of children at child care centers, according to the DPW.
The Barbara Douglas Group Child Care facility is located on Route 220.
A staff member had exited from the facility "and the door did not immediately close all the way, which allowed the child to get out of the facility," Bale said.
"No staff person was present" with the child when the child "wandered outside on to the highway," according to the written information from the DPW.
No staff person had been assigned the responsibility of supervising the toddler who wandered off, according to the DPW.
Douglas, who lives on Route 220, has 30 days to file an appeal with the DPW, authorities said.
Unless Douglas files a successful appeal, the facility will remain shut down permanently, Bale said.
The Barbara Douglas Group Child Care facility was licensed to care for up to 12 children at a time.
The Review was unsuccessful in its attempts to reach Douglas for comment on Monday.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.