Child Care Centers are regulated by the Community Care Licensing Division of the Department of Social Services. Unfortunately, some child care centers incur several citations for regulatory violations, or commit a serious violation such as operation of an unlicensed facility. When these violations reach a certain threshold Community Care Licensing may refer the matter to D.S.S.’s Legal Division with a recommendation that the facility’s license be revoked. Upon reviewing the case D.S.S. may serve the child care center licensee with an Accusation, a document establishing formal notice of the Administrative Action to revoke the license. The Accusation may be accompanied with a temporary suspension order if D.S.S. believes immediate closure of the child care center is warranted due to an imminent threat to the health and safety of children in care. More commonly, only the Accusation is served with a Notice of Defense which must be signed and returned by the licensee to request a hearing. If the licensee does not timely file the Notice of Defense a default decision and order will be issued against the licensee. If the licensee timely files a Notice of Defense a hearing date will be set with the Office of Administrative Hearings.
After receiving the Accusation many child care center owners hire an attorney. Once hired, a child care license defense attorney can file a Notice of Defense, engage in settlement negotiations with the Department’s attorney, and n necessary, represent the licensee at the Administrative hearing.
Not all license revocation proceedings end in revocation of the child care center license. Sometimes a settlement agreement can be reached in which a probationary license is issued for several years and revocation is stayed as long as the licensee complies with the terms and conditions of the settlement. However, child care centers with a temporary suspension order will find settlement difficult to obtain.