DHS found Harris Family Daycare in violation of several things over the years

Local News

As the community tries to come to terms with what happened last weekend, we are learning more about the violations against the Harris Family Daycare.

When going through the Department of Human Services (DHS) Inspection reports, we discovered that the Harris Family Daycare was in violation of a number of things over the years.

What’s not known at this time is whether any of those issues could have prevented Sunday’s fire.

Each year, the Department of Human Services evaluates Daycare facilities. Not only did the Harris Family Daycare rack up a number of DHS violations over the years, but one of them has been a reoccurring problem.

One violation reported in early 2019 regarded electrical receptacles. The state ordered protective receptacle covers to be placed in electrical outlets accessible to children five years of age or younger.

The Daycare facility was found in violation of this issue multiple times, at least four times in the last five years.

One year ago, two violations were noted. The DHS required the operator to post the emergency plan in the facility at a conspicuous location. There was no direct emergency plan posted for people utilizing the Daycare.

Another violation stated that the conditions at the facility may no pose a threat to the safety of the children. The plan of correction for that was that extension cords, cables, and lanyards be placed in areas inaccessible to children in care. In the future, all cords and cables will be inaccessible to children in care.

During the investigation into the cause of last Sundays deadly fire, it was determined electrical cords played a factor in starting the blaze.

In efforts to prevent something like this from happening again, Fire Chief Guy Santone is making recommendations to help home owners.

“Be careful, just don’t put them under the carpets or under the furniture, or just don’t plug too many things into extension cords,” said Chief Guy Santone, Erie Fire Department.

We asked what steps the state takes after violations have been found. The DHS stated, “DHS verifies compliance with an onsite re-inspection or by reviewing documentation submitted by the licensee that conclusively demonstrates the plan of correction was implemented, and that compliance has been achieved.”

In total, the DHS found the Harris Family Daycare in violation of nine separate issues this year. The Harris Family has secured a lawyer in the wake of Sunday’s tragic fire.

A local Pastor, who once spoke on behalf of the family, had no comment today when asked about the Daycare’s list of violations.

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