Daycare allowed to re-open following state mandated closure
After being shut down for six business days by the Department of Family and Protective Services, Ms. Irene's House has re-opened with provisions.
The Department of Family and Protective Services' Child Care Licensing division ordered the daycare, which is owned by Irene Ortega, to close on Jan. 27, pending an investigation into allegations of standards violations and improper discipline.
The daycare, 105 Crosswind Drive, is licensed to care for 12 children.
On Feb. 3, the daycare was allowed to re-open under a safety plan while the investigation continues, mandating that Ortega has a second caregiver with her at all times during operating hours, said Mary Walker, spokeswoman for DFPS in an email.
Walker also said the licensing division has received additional information since opening its investigation, indicating the risk to children is minimal and the additional safety measure of a second caregiver being on premises will aide in securing child safety.
Ortega, who has been in business for 21 years, said she is happy about being allowed to reopen.
"It's just so sad that someone out there can make false accusations about your business," Ortega said. "I'm like give me proof. They have nothing but the phone call they got."
Ortega said the only financial repercussion of the complaint and subsequent closure was the cost associated with hiring an attorney, however, the emotional toll was much higher.
"It was so stressful. I cried a lot. I couldn't believe something like this could happen," Ortega said.
Prior to this incident, Ms. Irene's House Daycare has never been shut down or received a complaint of wrongdoing, said Ortega. The daycare owner said she told investigators that she had phone records proving the call made to the complaint hotline came from her center and was made by a family member who no longer works at the business.
"It was false accusations to slander me and make me look bad," she said. "I'm just so grateful to open. I missed my babies."
The investigation into the allegation remains ongoing.