Thursday, June 10, 2021

Child care home license suspended by state

The license of the Macfarlane group child care home in Romulus has been suspended by the state following allegations of abuse and violence.

Misconduct at the home was alleged with the submission of a recording of the home care staff verbally and physically abusing children in their care. Staff members allegedly beat the children using a fly swatter and back scratcher. Staff members were also recorded using profanity, threatening violence against the children and using other, prohibited, forms of discipline.

The home, operated by Shelley Macfarlane, is located in the 9200 block of Washington near Wick and Wayne roads in Romulus. The facility has been licensed by the state to care for 12 children since 2000. 

Under a state order issued last Wednesday, Macfarlane is prohibited from operating a group child care home at any location, unable to accept children for care and required to inform all parents of children in her care her license has been suspended and she can no longer provide child care.

State officials began an investigation May 13 following a complaint about the treatment of children in care at Macfarlane's facility. According to that report, adult staff members were recorded screaming profanities at a child.  A teacher of virtual school classes attended by children at the center told investigators that she heard staff members yelling and cursing the children. She said she heard a staff member tell a child, “I'm going to take your diaper off and beat your ---.”

The seven children in care at the facility told investigators from the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) that they were frequently hit in the back of the head with a fly swatter or backscratcher or sprayed with hot or cold water by caretakers.

“It was critical to take emergency action to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the children at the Macfarlane group child care home,” read a release from LARA and the Child Care Licensing Bureau.

Other segments of the recorded incidents of abuse included an adult telling a child, “It doesn't matter, sit your [redacted] down, why would you sit there, sit down, get back here and shut the [redacted] up. I don't wanna hear a word out of either one of you, I'm going to bust you in the mouth.”

In another incident recorded at Macfarlane, children can be heard arguing and crying when a staff member says, “Enough, what are you crying about?” One of the children responds, “You hurt me.” The employee then responds, “Who hurt you?” and the child says, “You.” The staff member then says, “Right, and you going to cry five minutes later, shut up, dry it up, shut up.”

Officials from the licensing bureau said that while Macfarlane's license was initially suspended, they plan to permanently revoke the permits. Under the state rules, Macfarlane has the right to appeal the decision of the LARA officials.