CHELSEA (CBS) – A chain of day care centers that’s been cited by the state for numerous regulatory violations will be closing its doors.
The state Department of Early Education and Care has revoked the money for child care vouchers Terri’s Little Pumpkins relies on to fund the centers.
It’s also moving to revoke the operating license.
Director Terri Bettano promised a statement from her attorney when confronted outside the Somerville location Thursday. She also owns centers in Revere, Chelsea, and Medford.
In 2015 and 2016 TLP was cited for insufficient food and drink for the children, inadequate staffing and failing to pay employees in a timely manner, among other violations.
The Revere Housing Inspector said he received two complaints last year about “deplorable conditions” at the center on Squire Road and found several dead rodents and droppings in the kitchen area along with a carpet covered in mold and mildew.
“There was food left around, open food containers on the floor,” said inspector John Ferrara.
The state says the owner had ignored orders to improve conditions by hiring a consultant and creating an action plan to address administrative issues.
The former assistant director of the Somerville location, Lisa Dwyer, says paychecks that were given to employees late also bounced.
She says she often bought food and supplies herself and was never reimbursed.
Parent Erica Owens says surveillance cameras caught her daughter falling out of a crib but it was never reported by the staff.
“They shouldn’t be caring for children,” said Owens.
Terri’s Little Pumpkins has until October 14 to appeal the license revocation order.
In a letter to parents Thursday, Bettano said TLP will appeal to the state to keep the Medford facility open.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports