Staffing shortages apparently forced church to close daycare
QUESTION: Is it true that the state has ordered the Altamahaw Baptist Church Daycare in Elon to close?
ANSWER: Altamahaw Baptist Church Daycare has, in fact, closed.
However, it’s unclear whether the state forced the daycare to close, or whether the board of directors for Altamahaw Baptist Church opted to close after trying unsuccessfully for several months to hire a director to oversee the daycare’s operations. The daycare was located at the same address as the church, 2445 Altamahaw Church Street in Elon.
State law requires licensed daycare facilities to have an administrator or director who’s 21 years or older, has a high school diploma, and has obtained the North Carolina Early Childhood Administration Credential or its equivalent.
Prior to closing last month, Altamahaw Baptist Church Daycare apparently had an interim director but hadn’t had a permanent director for some time, based on reports that the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) issued following routine site visits in March and September 2021. The DCDEE is a division within the state Department of Health & Human Services that regulates and monitors licensed childcare facilities in North Carolina.
Parents whose children were enrolled at the daycare were notified in an email sent Monday, January 17 that the daycare center would close Friday, January 21, based on a copy of the email that was furnished to The Alamance News.
In the email sent to parents on January 17, Altamahaw Baptist Church’s board of directors attributed the impending closure to being unable to hire a director.
“We, the board, along with the state, are having to permanently close the doors to Altamahaw Baptist Daycare,” the letter stated. “Unfortunately, we have had many candidates apply for the Director’s position that are either unqualified or do not line up with the doctrinal beliefs of Altamahaw Baptist Church.”
The letter lists the following members of the board of directors for Altamahaw Baptist Church: Marie Tickle; Lisa Whitesell; Helen Hogsed; Jean Agee; Karen Turner; Stephanie Ross; and Brandon Bohannon.
A report issued after an unannounced, routine site visit on September 16, 2021 listed a woman named “Jessica” as the interim director for Altamahaw Baptist Church Daycare.
A report issued following a site visit on March 4, 2021 listed “Jennifer Vaughn” as the director.Vaughn apparently had been hired as the director for Altamahaw Baptist Church Daycare in early February 2020, based on reports that were filed with the Secretary of State’s office at the time.
No violations of state childcare regulations were noted during the two routine, unannounced site visits that the DCDEE conducted in March and September 2021, based on copies of the reports that the newspaper obtained late last month.
Several regulatory violations had been documented during two out of the four site visits that the DCDEE conducted between February and May 2020. The nature of those violations, which were documented on February 12 and February 18, 2020, is unknown, as all of the records pertaining to Altamahaw Baptist Church Daycare were recently removed from the DCDEE website.
The church and the daycare were established in September 1994, according to documents on file in the Secretary of State’s office.
The phone for Altamahaw Baptist Church Daycare appears to be disconnected, though the church is continuing to solicit applications for full and part-time positions for the daycare through its website.
Altamahaw Baptist Church had not responded to an inquiry from The Alamance News by press time.
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