OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma Department of Human Services moved quickly to shut down two home day care centers, including one police visited several times to investigate domestic disturbances.
DHS issued emergency orders Wednesday to close the Lori Meek Family Child Care Home in Moore and the Angela Taylor Large Family Child Care Home in Tulsa.
Janice Matthews, DHS child care licensing coordinator, said her agency took action to close the Moore day care after confirming Tuesday that police had been called to the home on multiple occasions because of domestic disturbances.
The agency has come under fire for its handling of center operators who violate child-care guidelines. On May 17, Tulsa day care operator Vicki Chiles was arrested after she allegedly put masking tape on the mouth and bound the hands of 2-year-old Joshua Minton to quiet him during naptime. Joshua died later at a local hospital.
A review of DHS records showed that Chiles had a history of violating the rules and had admitted hitting an 8-year-old boy with a flyswatter on April 10.
In Moore, police Sgt. Todd Strickland said police had gone to the center there six times since 2003 because of reports of domestic abuse or assault. The most recent was Saturday when Lori Meek reported she was assaulted in her garage, Strickland said.
Moore police twice assisted DHS on Wednesday by going to the home but found no one there, he said.
Matthews said DHS discovered the domestic disturbances while investigating a complaint received Monday that the day care had an excessive number of children who were playing with toys in the street. DHS found 14 children _ including Meek's oldest child _ in a home licensed for seven.
The agency already was investigating the home for possible revocation after DHS employees observed children being left unattended in Meek's car on Feb. 8 and March 15, Matthews said.
In Tulsa, the emergency order to close the Tulsa day care was issued for repeated violations of capacity limits, Matthews said.
The home was licensed for up to 12 children, but licensing employees found 14 when they visited Tuesday, Matthews said.
The home was cited for exceeding capacity limits at least five days in November and 19 days in January. On Jan. 29, officials found 16 children in the home.
The emergency order said licensing officials also investigated a Sept. 18 complaint that ``children had been struck by caregivers'' and confirmed that physical discipline had been used in violation of DHS rules.
Neither Meek nor Taylor could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
DHS Director Howard Hendrick said Tuesday that changes in policy or training will be made because of Joshua Minton's death.