State cites Smyrna daycare after child with autism found restrained in stroller

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A Smyrna daycare is facing several violations after the Department of Human Services found a child with autism improperly restrained in a stroller while in the classroom.

DHS was visited New Hope Learning Center on March 13. It was a follow-up visit after the state found several violations during a January visit. 

The state’s program evaluator wrote in her report that she observed, “one child seated and restrained in a stroller in the classroom.”

A daycare worker reportedly told the program evaluator that “the child is autistic and has outbursts that can become violent to the point where the child throws toys and hits other children. The classroom teachers restrain that child during this time.” 

New Hope’s director Nelly Echagile told News 2 the child’s mother works at the daycare and is okay with the restraints. However, the state found the tactic “inappropriate.”

DHS has visited the daycare three times in two months and found a total of 11 violations, including improper adult/child ratios, time-out used excessively in the 3-4-year-old classrooms and uncovered electrical outlets.

Echagile said her children were never in danger and she is doing her best. She says she has also hired more teachers and increased their pay. 

Along with the citations, the daycare must provide a written plan of supervision to the state “to ensure children receive adequate care at all times.”

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