State closes child care facility after one child hurt by another

Following an assault on a child by another child at a Homer child care facility, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Child Care Licensing, last month suspended the license of that facility.

Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said that about 3:30 p.m. July 22, a South Peninsula Hospital employee reported an incident of possible child abuse involving a patient. Robl said an older child had stabbed a younger child in the skull, but that the injury was not severe and did not pierce the bone. 

The child care facility also reported the incident to police.

Citing the privacy of juveniles, Robl said he could not provide specifics such as the ages of the victim and alleged assailant.

“It’s a case where we really have to protect the victim’s identity and the young person,” Robl said.

Robl and Child Care Licensing also declined to identify the facility. Police referred the incident to the Office of Children’s Services and the Division of Juvenile Justice.

Child Care Licensing is working with Homer Police on an investigation of the child care facility, said Staci Collier, a DHSS community care licensing specialist.

Regulations require a licensed child care facility to immediately report to the child’s parent and DHSS any injury or illness of a child that requires medical attention outside the facility, Collier said.

DHSS immediately suspended the child care facility’s license and the license remains suspended until an investigation is complete. Once the investigation is complete, the facility gets a report of the investigation containing the outcome, any violations of regulations discovered and any enforcement action the state might take. 

A facility can submit a written response, appeal a suspension and ask for a hearing. If the facility does not request a hearing within 15 days of receipt of the report, the violations and enforcement actions become final, Collier said. The results of a hearing become a final agency decision.

“Investigations and their findings remain confidential until the request-for-hearing timeframe has passed or a hearing result has been issued,” Collier said.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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