DECAL issues emergency three-week shut down for local daycare

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, August 21, 2018

On Monday, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) issued an order for an emergency closure of ATLAS Educational Services in Bainbridge.

An order for intended emergency closure is issued by the agency when it is determined the health, safety or welfare of children may be in imminent danger.

According to DECAL, the provider never informed parents of the distinction between its licensed program and an exempt summer camp program, as required by law. In addition, the director of both programs has been deemed unqualified to care for children, DECAL said in a statement.

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Lead teacher Kelley Harrell said the after school program sent letters home to the parents Monday afternoon after the visit from DECAL, informing them they will be closed the next three weeks.

Harrell said most of the parents were very supportive and said they would find other care for their children during the interim and bring them back after the three-week hiatus.

Harrell went on to explain some of the issues DECAL found the program in fault of.

Harrell said Atlas Educational has been open for nine years, and during that time they have always had 4 year olds in their summer program. DECAL informed Atlas this was not allowed. Harrell questioned DECAL on why this had not been brought to their attention before, considering the amount of time 4 year olds have been in attendance.

Harrell also said DECAL cited the program director for not having her license displayed in public, where the masses could see it. Harrell said the director has a license that anyone is more than welcome to see; it just hangs in her office.

Harrell said there are currently other small accusations being made that she is not able to discuss, but Bainbridge Public Safety and DECAL are investigating the matter further.

The provider will have the right to appeal the Order for Intended Emergency Closure within 48 business hours. Parents impacted by this situation can connect with childcare resources at or by calling the toll-free number 1-877-ALL GA KIDS.  Parents will be assisted in locating quality childcare options, as this is a free service DECAL provides to parents.