The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services revoked the licenses of two day cares that Aniya Day-Garrett attended, finding that they failed to report suspected abuse before her mother and boyfriend allegedly beat the 4-year-old to death.
According to Cleveland.com, the state agency wrote that Harbor Crest Childcare Academy, in Cleveland, and Get Ready, Set, Grow Preschool, in Euclid, both lost their licenses for failing to report possible abuse and neglect to police or Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services.
WKYC reported that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley is looking into the possibility of filing additional charges. The ODJFS found 11 violations at Harbor Crest Childcare Academy while 14 violations were identified at Get Ready, Set, Grow Preschool.
(Documents detailing these violations can be read in full below)
A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) told Cleveland.com that the two day cares have 30 days to appeal the agency’s decision. It’s not immediately known whether they plan to appeal.
Officers reportedly found Day-Garrett unresponsive at her Euclid home on March 11. Police noted that the little girl appeared emaciated and had burns on her legs and feet.
The Cleveland Scene reported that Day-Garrett died after suffering a stroke caused by blunt force trauma to her head. Officials noted that malnutrition also played a role in the girl’s death.
The slain girl’s mother, Sierra Day, and the woman’s boyfriend, Deonte Lewis, have been charged with aggravated murder. They remain jailed on $1 million bond.
As CrimeOnline reported early last month, a March 23 report by ODJFS stated that Harbor Crest didn’t adequately report each incident where Day-Garrett came to the day care with suspicious injuries. The Cleveland-based business documented 14 instances of abuse, dating back to 2015. However, it reportedly wasn’t until May 18, 2017, after finding blood coming from Day-Garrett’s ear, that they turned the reports over to police.
Day-Garrett reportedly first attended day care at Harbor Crest before going to Ready, Set, Grow. An employee at Ready, Set, Grow told WKYC that the late girl’s mom worked at the day care.
In addition to not reporting abuse, a visit to Get Ready, Set, Grow after Day-Garrett’s death reportedly revealed that children were contained in locked rooms and a child was left to sleep in a closet. The state also found that kids were left unsupervised, attendance records weren’t kept, and employees were not kept up-to-date on their training—especially when it came to child abuse, according to the news station.
Harbor Crest was ordered to submit a compliance plan following the ODJFS’ March 23 report, leading them to agree to retrain their employees despite contesting their findings. Officials confirmed in mid-April that Get Ready, Set, Grow had submitted a corrective action plan.
It’s unclear whether their proposed plans played a role in the agency’s decision to pull their licenses.
The story has grabbed national headlines as the little girl’s father has accused Family Services—and the courts—of ignoring multiple calls for intervention. Mickhal Garrett said the agency didn’t remove his daughter from Euclid home despite receiving three calls last year to investigate abuse.
Furthermore, WEWS reported that the concerned father sent a letter to Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court in December 2017, urging the court for full custody of Day-Garrett. At the time, he claimed that Day was keeping him from his daughter and that relatives believed she was being abused.
“I truly, truly, truly feel as though our daughter is being abused at home physically/mentally and that her life could possibly be in danger,” Garrett reportedly wrote.
A county spokeswoman confirmed to Cleveland.com that they investigated three reports in 2017 but didn’t find cause to remove the girl from her mother’s home. Previous reports indicated that the Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services has since hired an independent panel to review the agency’s handling of Day-Garrett’s case.
The ODJFS spokeswoman said the day cares are allowed to remain open as the agency goes through the process of revoking their licenses.
[Featured Image: Aniya Day-Garrett, Mickhal Garrett/WEWS]