MIAMI – A downtown Miami day care had multiple violations noted by an inspector with the Florida Department of Children and Families shortly before two children who attended the day care died.
The YWCA Carol Glassman Donaldson Child Care Center, at 112 NW Third St., was inspected Dec. 1.
Among the violations noted in the DCF report was that the day care did not have an isolation area designated for children who were sick.
The inspector wrote in the report that the day care director confirmed that the facility did not have an isolation area, and the inspector told her that she needed to find an area that was adequately ventilated and that a mat needed to be in the area.
The inspector wrote that the director said she would get an isolation area ready for a re-inspection in 30 days.
Among the other violations noted, a cockroach was found under the kitchen sink, one of the sinks in the bathroom was broken, a broken diaper-changing station mat needed to be replaced and the rubber surface of the playground had a loose part that could cause a child to fall.
The inspection report also noted that the day care did not have records or copies of records, including background check results and other documents, for two staff members. The documents were received before the inspector left the facility, according to the report.
Heath officials confirmed that two boys died shortly after the inspection.
Dr. Alvaro Mejia-Echeverry, a medical epidemiologist with the state health department, confirmed that a 22-month-old boy died of pneumococcal meningitis on Dec. 3.
Officials said a second boy, a 2-year-old who attended the day care, died about a week later, but the cause of death has not been determined.
"They don't know yet if the deaths are related," said Jose Galan, an assistant director with Miami-Dade County, which owns the building.
State health department officials wrote to parents of children at the day care last Thursday, warning that a child there had been recently diagnosed with meningitis. The letter did not disclose that the child had died. It also urged parents to seek medical attention if their children exhibited any symptoms.
"Just to hear that two kids have passed away, (it's) very sad," Reggie Laroche, a father of three, said.
The Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Children and Families inspected the day care Wednesday.
The center agreed not to reopen until it had been cleared by those agencies.
"We are devastated. In 20 years of providing the service with the county, we've never had this happen," YWCA CEO Kerry-Ann Royes said.
Royes said the YWCA is working with the Florida Department of Health and DCF to make sure the facility is safe. She also had a message for parents.
"All of our families need to recognize, this is flu season. We just want to remind our families that you want to not ignore any symptoms. Get checked. Get your kids checked," she said. "These are our YW babies, and everything that we can do for our children, for our families, for our staff right now is what's paramount."
Royes said every child at the day care whose parents have sought medical attention for them has been cleared by his or her doctor.
Still, Royes said the center will remain closed until it is cleared by the Florida Department of Health.