State forces Tyler daycare to shut down

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services confirmed Wednesday that childcare inspectors have moved to close the New Life Learning Center, located at 1201 N NW Loop 323, permanently.

In a letter dated November 12, 2013, District Director Kerri Fowler advised New Life Director Denise Robertson of an immediate "revocation" of the center's childcare permit because New Life "does not comply with the minimum standards."

Click here to read the letter.

"Within the past two years DFPS conducted 29 inspections and cited your operation for 72 deficiencies," Fowler wrote. "These deficiencies included minimum standards related to supervision, [child-to-caregiver] ratios, background checks, transportation, personnel and fire safety."

Fowler said inspectors were concerned by "the severity of the deficiencies, the repetition of deficiencies, [and] continued failure to demonstrate responsibility for compliance" in the months leading up to revoking the center's license.

The decision comes after a final, unsuccessful inspection in late October in which the center was cited for problems with the child-to-caregiver ratio and a child safety seat system.

CBS 19 and the Tyler Morning Telegraph's ongoing investigation into problems at daycares around East Texas had previously found records of a teacher kicking a child in the center's care.

Previous attempts at talking with the center about the state's ongoing concerns had been unsuccessful. However, Pastor Vernon Robertson (the director's husband) released a statement in response to the license revocation reading:

"New Life Learning Center thanks the Tyler area community for supporting us in providing quality and affordable child care to hundreds of families over the past thirteen years
 Unfortunately, we exist in an environment where we have not received support from some who choose to use bureaucratic oversight and unfair assessment of our accomplishments.

"All of the deficiencies that we received, some of which were of a vindictive and biased [sic], were and have been corrected.

"We are still committed to our vision of providing Christian Education and quality child care to the Tyler area . We are confident that  those who know our work and reputation will continue  to support our positive initiatives."

The revocation will be permanent unless the center files for an administrative review within fifteen days and ultimately gets the decision reversed.

Barring that, the center's operators would be prohibited from starting another daycare for five years.


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