1 Fort Lauderdale
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A Miami day care center attended by two children who later died had no designated area to care for sick children, according to a Florida Department of Children and Families inspection performed just days before the first child passed away.
The inspection was performed at the YWCA Carol Glassman Donaldson Child Care Center on Dec. 1, two days before a 22-month-old boy who had been diagnosed with meningitis died. On Sunday, 2-year-old boy who also attended the center died.
According to the inspection, the center was told they needed to find an area “adequately ventilated” with a mat and that it had to be ready by Jan. 1.
“Director stated that she is getting the area ready for re-inspection in 30 days,” the report noted.
Officials haven’t confirmed that meningitis was the cause of death for the first child. The cause of death has also not been determined for the second child, and it is not yet known if the child had meningitis.
“The Department of Children and Families does not know whether the deaths are connected or if the deaths are even connected to the daycare themselves,” said Jose Galan, with Miami-Dade County’s Internal Services Department.
The inspection noted a number of other issues, including “evidence of rodent or vermin infestation,” a diaper changing that occurred on a surface that “was not impermeable,” and ground cover under playground equipment not being maintained.
The day care center remained closed Wednesday as the State Department of Health, DCF, and the YWCA are all trying to get to the bottom of what happened. YWCA officials said all the other children have gone to see their doctors and are okay, and said they had the building sanitized twice.
“These are our YW babies. Everything that we can do for our children, for our families, for our staff right now is paramount,” Executive Director Kerry-Ann Royes said.
YWCA officials said they have been keeping parents up to speed and notified them as soon as they got word from the health department. They are encouraging parents to be diligent in checking into any symptoms of the flu their kids might have and not take anything for granted.
“We are devastated by the death of two small children who attended this child care facility and we continue to grieve with their families and loved ones,” DCF said in a statement. “DCF is committed to working closely with the Department of Health while we conduct a joint inspection at the Carol Glassman Donaldson Child Care facility in Miami-Dade County.”