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Nancy Hadlock's Family Child Care Home v. Department of Public Welfare

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

September 23, 2014

Nancy Hadlock's Family Child Care Home, Petitioner
v.
Department of Public Welfare, Respondent

Submitted August 29, 2014

Publication Ordered November 21, 2014.

Appealed from No. 018-12-0054. State Agency: Department of Public Welfare.

Gery T. Nietupski, Erie, for petitioner.

Jeffrey P. Schmoyer, Senior Counsel, Pittsburgh, for respondent.

BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge, HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 852

 PELLEGRINI, PRESIDENT JUDGE

Nancy Hadlock's Family Child Care Home (Home) petitions for review of the final order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), Bureau of Hearings and Appeals (Bureau), adopting the recommendation of the DPW Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) upholding DPW's decision to revoke the Home's Certificate of Registration to operate a Family Child Day Care Home due to its violations of the Public Welfare Code (Code).[1] Finding no error, we affirm.

I.

The following facts are not in dispute. DPW issued the Home, a Family Child Day Care Home (FCDCH),[2] and its caregiver, Nancy Hadlock, a Certificate of Registration (Certificate) to operate from June 10, 2011, to June 10, 2013, which restricted " [t]he total number of children in care at any time" to six, not including

Page 853

relatives of the caregiver.[3] (Certified Record [C.R.] Notice of Appeal, Ex. C-1.) On July 12, 2012, DPW's Office of Child Development and Early Learning sent a certification representative, Lisa Furis, to conduct an unannounced inspection of the Home, following which DPW issued a preliminary decision to revoke the Home's Certificate for conditions and regulatory violations constituting " gross incompetence, negligence, and misconduct in operating a facility." (Reproduced Record [R.R.] at 1a.)

Specifically, in an inspection summary attached to DPW's decision, DPW stated that the Home violated the following regulations applicable to FCDCHs: (1) 55 Pa. Code § 3290.31(b)[4] because a staff person under 18 years old was observed alone with four children on the second floor of the Home; (2) 55 Pa. Code § 3290.51[5] because 11 unrelated children were being cared for at the Home at one time; (3) 55 Pa. Code § 3290.191[6] and 55 Pa. Code § 3290.32(a)[7] because two staff persons who were observed performing child-care duties did not have records containing the necessary documents; and (4) 55 Pa. Code § 3290.101(a)[8] and 55 Pa. Code § 3290.111(c)[9] because four children were observed in an upstairs bedroom lacking age-appropriate play equipment, learning materials and developmental activities.

II.

The Home appealed DPW's preliminary decision, contending that revocation of its Certificate was too harsh a penalty for its violations and arguing that, instead, DPW should have given the Home a provisional

Page 854

license and afforded it the opportunity to correct its violations in accordance with the Plan of ...


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