Opening and maintaining a licensed child-care facility requires constant evaluation and inspection.
The University Children’s Center, a CSU-affiliated day-care center, and the Early Childhood Lab School, a CSU-owned pre-school, both employed Jan Elijah Rogers. Rogers is a former CSU student charged with 12 local counts ranging from unlawful sexual contact to sexual assault on a minor.
Prior to the Rogers incident, both centers had no reported problems with regard to current licensing laws, according to the Colorado Department of Human Services and the Fort Collins Women’s Center.
“The Women’s Center has never had a complaint from any parent from either of those child care programs,” said Linda Fellion, coordinator of child-care resources and referrals at the Fort Collins Women’s Center.
Rogers was also charged with four federal charges for advertising and distributing child pornography.
All but two of the local counts occurred at the day-care center and there have been no incident reports at the pre-school.
According to Young Children magazine, child-care centers are usually very safe environments for young children. The magazine states that “substitute care providers constitute only 1.5 percent of all abusers,” using data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Colorado child-care centers have to undergo a thorough licensing process to open a facility. The process begins with an application and application fee.
After the application is received, a background check is done to see if anyone involved with the facility has had a past report of child abuse or neglect. A criminal record check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is also required.
After the background checks, the facility must be inspected before opening and at least every two years after opening by the local department of health or the State Department of Public Health and Environment, and from the local fire department.
“When you talk about licensing requirements, they are many, they are varied and they are detailed,” said Liz McDonough, spokeswoman for CDHS.
The University Children’s Center’s employment application process includes fingerprinting through the CBI, a review of the Central Registry of Child Protection to find any past child abuses or neglect, a references check and an orientation program.
Mary Hamilton, director of the day care, said the center follows higher licensing standards than are required by law.
“We have been assured by our licensing people that we are following correct procedures,” Hamilton said. “Our staff is really well-qualified and they really care about these kids.”
Child-care licensing and inspection violations are a matter of public record. Complaints against a child-care facility are ranked on a numerical scale according to severity. As of Tuesday neither the University Children’s Center nor the Early Childhood Lab School had any complaints filed with the CDHS.
Edited by Colleen Buhrer and Vince Blaser