- Associated Press - Thursday, August 3, 2017

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Two employees of a North Little Rock day care center have been fired after a child was left unattended.

The day care operator, Ascent Children’s Health Services, is the same as one in West Memphis where a child died in a hot van in June.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services said it was investigating the company to determine whether any laws were broken when the child was left unattended Monday. Department spokeswoman Brandi Hinkle said she didn’t know the child’s condition, but noted there are corrective actions generally put in place during such situations “so we’re sure the children are safe.”

The company and its chief executive, Republican Rep. Dan Sullivan, declined The Associated Press’ request for comment Thursday.

Two other staff members were fired after a similar incident was reported at the North Little Rock center on June 28, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .

At Ascent’s center in West Memphis, a 5-year-old boy was left in a van for almost nine hours and died on June 12. West Memphis police said Ascent’s 15-passenger van picked up Christopher Gardner Jr. at 6:40 a.m. He was found dead in the van at 3:30 p.m. Police said the temperature inside the van reached 141 degrees.

Four employees face felony manslaughter charges for the boy’s death. A trial is set for November.

Ascent has 10 facilities across Arkansas. According to its website, the company is “a leading treatment program for physical and behavioral developmental issues. We provide day and outpatient therapy for adolescent boys and girls and teens throughout Arkansas.”


This story has been corrected to show that the two fired employees worked at the day care center, not the Department of Human Services.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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