Childcare provider loses appeal of abuse findings


DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld several actions taken by the Iowa Department of Human Services against a Cerro Gordo County childcare provider.

The DHS had issued child abuse reports against Dana Peterson, operator of Dana’s Daycare, placed her on the child abuse registry and revoked her registration to provide daycare.  In April of 2011, a routine inspection found Taylor using a stackable crib unit, which the inspector believed to be unsafe.  The inspector says she provided Peterson with free crib units that met DHS safety standards in return for Peterson agreeing to destroy the stackable crib.

In July of 2011, the DHS received a complaint about Peterson and an unannounced visit found the stackable crib unit still in use.  DHS representatives said they saw the children in the nursery were unsupervised, and that Peterson’s daughter was the only adult in the child care facility.  An agreement was drafted where Peterson would discontinue use of the top of the stackable crib unit, and make sure the children were appropriately supervised.  A follow-up visit two days later allegedly discovered that Peterson was not abiding by any of the provisions of the agreement.  DHS representatives said they also confirmed reports that Peterson had been providing child care in an unapproved location, her own home.

Following all that, the DHS determined the risk for harm met the classification of child abuse, put the incident on the abuse registry and revoked Peterson’s approval to provide child care under Iowa law.  Peterson appealed all three actions to district court, which ruled in favor of the DHS.  She then took her case to the Court of Appeals, which has now affirmed the district court rulings.

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