Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare, in case of Appeals of: Addie McFarland -- Mother Goose Day Care Center, File Nos. 18-87-003; 18-87-006; 18-86-007.
Clyde W. Waite, Stief, Waite, Gross & Sagoskin, for petitioners.
Ruth O'Brien, Assistant Counsel, with her, John C. Fekety, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Craig, Barry and McGinley, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case.
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Mother Goose Day Care Center, Inc. (Mother Goose) and Addie McFarland, its Vice President and General Manager, appeal from an order of the Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which affirmed orders of DPW's Deputy Secretary of Planning, Policy and Evaluation which refused to renew certificates of compliance for Mother Goose's childrens' day care centers in Morrisville and Penndel and imposed a civil penalty upon Mother Goose for failure to comply with Section 23.1 of the Child Protective Services Law, Act of July 1, 1985, P.L. 124, as amended, 11 P.S. § 2223.1.
On September 12, 1986, employees of the Southeast Region Field Office of the Day Care Division of DPW's Office of Planning, Policy and Evaluation (OPPE) conducted unannounced inspections of the above mentioned children's day care centers. During these inspections various violations of DPW regulations were found. The violations were noted on Licensing and Inspection Summary forms prepared for each center (LIS forms), which were mailed to Ms. McFarland. Mother Goose was given a period of two weeks from the date of the inspection to submit plans of correction for the
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violations set forth in those forms. When it did not submit the requested plans within that time period, the Day Care Division of OPPE gave it an additional ten days to submit the plans. When Mother Goose still did not submit the requested plans of correction, the Day Care Division of OPPE notified it in writing that, because the requested plans of correction had not been received, renewal of the certificates of compliance for the two centers could not be recommended.
Three months after the issuance of this notice, the Southeast Region Field Office of the Day Care Division of OPPE was notified by Ms. McFarland that she had never received any of the letters and accompanying copies of LIS forms regarding the September 12, 1986 inspections. A set of copies of those forms, together with an accompanying cover letter, was sent to Ms. McFarland on two more occasions thereafter. Mother Goose was given eighteen days after the first of these mailings within which to file the requested plans of correction. It did not, however, file those plans within that time period. In fact, the second set of the LIS forms and the accompanying cover letter, which was sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, was returned as unclaimed.
Following the passage of the final deadline date that had been established for the filing of the requested plans of correction, DPW's Deputy Secretary for OPPE sent Ms. McFarland an order to show cause why Mother Goose should not be subjected to a civil penalty for willful violation of Section 23.1 of the Law, pursuant to 55 Pa. Code § 3490.16. Later, this same official notified Ms. McFarland in writing of DPW's decision to refuse to renew the certificates of compliance for Mother Goose's two centers. The basis for this decision was (1) Mother Goose's failure to comply with applicable day
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care regulations*fn1 and (2) DPW's determination that Ms. McFarland was not a responsible person.*fn2 Ms. McFarland first filed an appeal in Mother Goose's name and her own from the order to show cause and later from the decision to refuse to renew certificates of compliance for the centers. After the latter appeal was filed, a plan of correction for the violations set forth in the September ...