SMILE appeal coming after Head Start locations suspended

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) -  Head Start locations got an unexpected notice this week. Locations were set to open on August 14th but that was not the case.

An emergency suspension was placed on Head Start on August 8th. 

The appeal of the suspension will come next Tuesday.

The suspension came down because investigators say they believed SMILE did not properly correct three deficiencies.

"Although we had these three deficiencies, at the end of the day it is about governance and two safe environment infractions. We don't believe that meets the threshold of taking a program away from any agency," says SMILE CEO Chris Williams.

The three infractions Williams is referencing are as follows:

  1. Failure to report an incident of child abuse and/or neglect within 24 hours of the incident.
  2. An incident where a child was left unsupervised on a cot for 11 minutes.
  3. Failure to file a critical incident report after a parent reported their child was pinched by a teacher at the New Iberia Center.

Williams says SMILE made all of the corrections that were requested and plans on proving it in court Tuesday.

"The hope is that when we go through this process, we will get a fair hearing and it will be deemed that we can resume the services of being the provider for Early Head Start and Head Start," says Williams.


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