Broward County

Day care faces violations after toddler's death in van

A county board Thursday issued four violations against Katie's Kids Learning Center, the Delray Beach day care center where a toddler was left to die in a hot van in August.

The center's owners now must appear for a Dec. 2 hearing to show whether the day care should be held in violation and to determine the fines.

Two-year-old Haile Brockington was left alone in a van outside the day care facility, in the 100 block of Southwest 10th Avenue, for about six hours on Aug. 5, authorities said.

Violations, issued by the Palm Beach County Environmental Control Hearing Board, include failure to maintain all children in direct supervision at all times, improper attendance recordkeeping and failure of the driver and a second staff member to each inspect a vehicle to ensure no children were left behind.

Betty Resch — attorney for day care owners Kathryn Muhammad and Barbara Dilthey — said there is no disputing the violations and that her clients will explore options available with the board.

Van driver Amanda Inman and center director Petra Rodriguez, who signed the log stating Haile was accounted for, did not do their jobs, she said.

"This is no surprise. This is part of the process we were expecting," Resch said, "There was a procedure. There were rules and two people didn't follow them."

Inman was charged on Aug. 23 with aggravated manslaughter of a child.

"We'll deal with it as we've been dealing with everything else that's been happening with this sad tragedy," Resch said.

Haile's family also has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Katie's Kids, day care owners and the van driver.

The board will decide the fine amount in December, but each of the violations can incur a fine of up to $500 per day, Health Department spokesman Tim O'Connor said.

Last month, the day care owners relinquished their license to operate the facility after state funding was pulled.

Muhammad and Dilthey have the option to meet with the Environmental Control Hearing Board chairman on Nov. 24 for a pre-hearing session, during which they can declare their intent to comply or negotiate a settlement, O'Connor said.

Katie's Kids operates two other daycares in Palm Beach County and one in Broward County.