As a new daycare provider, we at North State Law, understand that keeping up with laws, rules, and regulations may be overwhelming, especially if that provider has a large facility. Unfortunately, there are times when things don’t go as planned so here are a few tips if a child care facility owner you know is being investigated by the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education (NCDCDEE).
1. Initial Investigation
The initial investigation is the allegation of code violation. This does not necessarily mean that anything was done wrong, but simply that there is suspicion.
2. Proposed Notice of Administrative action
At this point the NCDCDEE is going through the process that they MAY do administrative action. This could lead to the opportunity for the owner to provide a written statement or request an informal hearing. As a new daycare facility owner it is important to contact an attorney at this point.
3. Opportunity to do a written statement
If the daycare facility owner and the attorney agree that a written statement is the best course of action, they must be careful because the written statement is permanent and cannot be taken back. This is crucial in helping the daycare facility owner if done correctly or harming the daycare facility owner if done poorly.
4. Opportunity To Do an Informal Hearing
At this point, the facility owner has the opportunity to provide the division with more information than they already have pertaining to your case. It is important to have an attorney present to prepare the new facility owner for this step. The Division will review all the information presented and meet with the facility owner with the attorney present. Note: this is also a risky choice and it is important to contact a North Carolina attorney first.
5. Actual Notice of Administrative Action
If the process gets this far, the facility owner has the opportunity to contest the administrative action that is proposed BUT it must be done in a timely manner. It is strongly suggested that the new facility owner contact an attorney to assist them with this process.
6. Petition For a Contested Case
The petition for a contested case must be filed within 30 days from when the notice of administrative action is sent to the facility owner by the DCDEE.
7. Prehearing Statement
Before the hearing takes place a prehearing statement needs to be created. This document must be filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings. Again, it is best to have an attorney to help you through the entire process.
This is a fancy way of saying ‘documents that have been acquired by the NCDCDEE that they will produce to the facility owner upon request.
9. Settlement Options
The facility owner ALWAYS has the option to settle with the NCDCDEE. It is possible to work it out without a settlement conference, but a settlement conference can be agreed upon between the parties
10. Contested Case Hearing
Lastly comes the contested case hearing. This is conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) employed by the Office of Administrative Hearings.
– NC Rules of Evidence apply
– NC Rules of Civil Procedure apply
– Pro Se individuals (those who represent themselves without any attorney) will be treated like an attorney. If the facility owner attends the hearing alone, they will not get special treatment from the ALJ.
Nothing in this blog post is legal advice or establishes the attorney-client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. If you’d like to learn more about professional licensing issues in North Carolina check out our site at www.northstatelawfirm.com or our YouTube site here. 919-521-8810 is the direct line to North State Law.
Written by BréLeigh Stragand, Marketing Assistant