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Jump Start day-care center closes

Published: Sun, November 4, 2012 @ 12:04 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern



It took more than three years, but a child-care center that had repeated serious violations from the state has shut its doors.

Jump Start Child Development Center on Wick Avenue in Youngstown first received notice Aug. 14, 2009 that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services was planning to revoke its child-care license. The notice was nine pages and detailed violations going back to 2006.

“This isn’t a step we take lightly. It’s fairly standard that it would take repeated serious violations for us to finally move to close a center down,” said Benjamin Johnson, JFS spokesman.

Of the roughly 4,400 child care centers and large in-home child care providers in Ohio, only three have proposed license-revocations pending, he said.

Johnson said JFS works with centers to bring them into compliance. If violations continue, then JFS sends the intent to revoke notice, and centers can request a hearing to object. If, after the hearing, JFS continues the process to revoke the license, a center then can appeal to the county court system.

Johnson said Jump Start did not request a hearing, so JFS proceeded and issued the license revocation in October 2009. Then Jump Start filed a motion in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to keep its license, and that court case was ongoing until July 2012 when it was dismissed. Jump Start had a period of time to appeal the court decision, and once that window closed, JFS moved to close the center, effective Sept. 14.

The Vindicator tried several phone numbers to reach Janell Howell, Jump Start’s administrator, but the lines had been disconnected.

Johnson said JFS reminded Jump Start that it was losing its license about a week before the center closed.

“We did contact the [Mahoning] County JFS to let them know that children in the publicly funded child-care program who attended Jump Start would be coming back to the county and need a new place to go,” Johnson said.

Jump Start continued to receive taxpayer money via government assistance for children whose families qualified.

“The centers are entitled to due process, and the review, or as we call it, enforcement, is part of that process,” Johnson said.

Records of child-care centers’ license inspections are available online at jfs.ohio.gov.

“We try to make it as easy as possible to search,” Johnson said. “Our inspections are very thorough and not every noncompliance is a reason not to send your child. Some are paperwork errors and things that need to be cleaned up but don’t directly impact the health and safety of a child.”

Serious violations are marked in red, such as background checks. There is a separate field coded in blue called “statement of non-conviction” of employees.

“The statement of non-conviction is paperwork and not the actual background check so we don’t feel that is serious risk, but not having the criminal background check is,” Johnson said.

Jump Start repeatedly failed the criminal background check of the license inspection by either falsifying records or not having them on file, according to JFS inspection records and correspondence. Other violations related to property conditions — mouse feces found in the infant room and a jagged metal strip poking up from the floor — and child supervision.

During one inspection visit, an infant was left unattended on a climbing apparatus and lost his balance, falling head-first to the floor, according to the records.

Johnson said parents and guardians should take the same steps anytime a child is in the care of another.

“Talk to the facility, see if you can get references from people who currently send their children there. Make sure it’s a place where you feel comfortable leaving your child,” he said.

If anyone has any concerns about a center, he or she can email childcarepolicy@jfs.ohio.gov, or call 877-302-2347 and dial 4.

“From time to time, we get providers that say ‘You keep coming out to investigate the same complaint, and it’s a disgruntled former employee.’ That’s unfortunate, but we must and we will investigate every complaint,” Johnson said.

If complaints are founded, JFS will work with the center to correct the problem.

“We are not in the business of shutting down child-care providers. ... We want to fix the problem so they can continue to provide what is a very important service in communities around the state,” Johnson said.


1Janell70(3 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

This is Janell , Yes i was willing and commented about the accusations with a staff member of yours, and the county , but if ur going to comment on the findings why did u not comment on the answers from our center about the complaints? and why didn't the reporter

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2Janell70(3 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

comment about what she seen when I gave her a complete unannounced tour of our center, I would have given her a tour of our records but there confidential. I did not know she was coming, so what she seen, and how the center looked is what happens at the center everyday, she wittnesed happy behaved children in a well over supervised center that day, And if u would have printed what was in inspection report the supposedly found mouse speces was found behind a toilet in our infant room in which a small toddler would have had problems looking behind (who does that). And come to find out when we made the call to terminix who at the time was contracted with the center they stated that it was not mouse feces , but the air refreshner that was stuck to the wall in the back of the toilet had fell. And if whoever wrote this article would have read the entire report and question about the toddler following head first, they would have known the inspector was standing right there next to an infant proviider and the child was sliding down the sliding board head first, it was an infant room toy so u know just how little it was it was approved for the infant room. the toddler ran out of line on his way to the restroom and climbed up the infant slide and sled down head first, if she is such a good inspector, why did she not stop the child especially when she was closer to the slide then the provider (who does that), and there was 2 providers in the infant room at the time of the incident , plus a toddler provider. And concerning the files,The state requires people to bring different documents , I admit it is quite alot of stuff and sometimes i just make sure everything is it,and some stuff just can't right away be verified but looks authentic.
Jump Start is one of the cleaniest and nice daycare centers in youngstown, my children and grandchildren attend there and i like them to have the best so why wouldn't it be. We have a very carring staff and I love my parents and the children that attend the center,

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3Janell70(3 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

when they walk in the door they immediately become my babies and family, and staff feel the same way. I think personaly the inspector we have is on a witch hunt, and just feels a certain way toward me, Jump start has almost new everything and stuff is replaced ever time it is broken or lost. that is why we request that her supervisor come out when she do an inspection, if it was not for her supervisor , Jump Start inspections would be alot worse who spends 9 to 10 hours doining an inspection walking through a building over and over again and then tries to leave without leaving a report ask urself (who does that) ? and most of all ask Jump Start parents what Jump Start is and do for our center families they know the best. the center didn"t have a 100 or more children on our roster for nothing, now print this! and once again JFS did not give the center any notice we found out through our parents and the phone is not disconnected ,we have the same number from the very first day we opened up the center. I have no complaint with the vindicator I just ask that u not only do the entire research on me ,but on everyone that u print an article about, some people have there own motives behind something, and I can be reached if they wanted to contact me, The post office has thing called certified mail so that is also untrue, they never tried. (now who does that). Now good bye and have a blessed day.

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4you101(1 comment)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

It is hard for me to believe that this center was as bad as the article said it was. Seems like a personality conflict between the inspector and the owner.
How did the report confirm child falling on their head without supervision. If the inspector was there why is she not faulted for letting the child fall.

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5southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

@Janell70...Your postings seem to ramble on incoherently. The grammar and syntax are on a junior-high level. More of a rant than anything else.

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6demetria663(1 comment)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

@southsidedave~~ If the above Janell is the adminstrator, it is clear that grammar was NOT a requirement for her to get a degree~~IF she has a degree to be the administrator that is~~if not.......... then that would explain all =\

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7fess2it(30 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Vindy.com reported on may 16, 2012 Janell Howell was found guilty of two counts of failure to comply for operating without the required workers’-compensation insurance coverage.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s special-investigations department investigated after Howell did not cooperate with repeated attempts by BWC’s Employer Compliance Department to bring her business, Jump Start Child Development Center in Youngstown, up to date on its policy. Howell was ordered to pay $300 per month for the next five years while on probation and pay court costs and probation fees. If the full amount owed of $18,547 is paid during her probation, her probation will be terminated at the time the debt is paid.

If Howell fails to make any payment, she will return to court and may serve up to 90 days in jail.

So I guess she will be going to jail now that the daycare center is closed. How else will she make the payments since she also owes for the Mahoning/Youngstown Mini Loan Fund Inc. v. Janell Howell et al, foreclosure loan according to the Vidicator on August 22, 2012.

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8topgun(2 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

@demetria663 Its is obvious that this woman has defrauded the government by taking money and not having the best ineterest of the children. Has she paid taxes ? Embezzled money? Why does the city of youngstown allow these people to get away with everything !!!!!

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9msweetwood(179 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago


We tried several non-working numbers in order to reach you for comment for this story.

For the record: The visit that you describe was in 2010 and that visit is unrelated to the state's most recent action. In fact, we have no first-hand knowledge of your operation for the past two years.

If you would like to talk to reporter Ashley Luthern, she can be reached at 330-747-1471, ext. 1309.

Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

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10stanimal77(1 comment)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

@janell70: First of all, I agree with southsidedave that your postings are more or less rants. Also, they are written at best, at a 5th grade level. So you are obviously neither educated nor qualified to be named as the facility administrator.
Additionally, you had up to 6 years to rectify your noncompliances. But rather than doing so, it is apparent that you chose to simply ignore JFS's reports of these complaints. This also brings up the question that "Since you chose to ignore the problems, what ever became of the money that could have and should have been used to fix the problems at hand and therefore provide the children of the community with a safer and more sanitary learning environment?" Maybe it should also be investigated as to what actually did happen to that money since it was obviously not used responsibly (that is, in addition to your other charges)!!!
So in conclusion, Jump Start's closing is noone's fault but your own! In the future (if you indeed have one), may I suggest that you be responsible for your actions. And secondly, when you make a mistake, take immediate actions to correct it--not to ignore it thinking that it will simply go away!!!

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