DHS asks judge to force unlicensed Nashville daycare to close after child’s death

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Following the death of a 6-month-old child last week, the Department of Human Services (DHS) is now asking a judge to force an unlicensed daycare in South Nashville to close.

The young girl was found unresponsive Thursday afternoon at the babysitter’s home off Welshwood Drive, where authorities said the woman had been charging $25 per day to watch multiple young children.

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According to court documents, the babysitter told authorities that she had put the child in a swing to sleep and later found her unresponsive. The child was pronounced dead after being taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Metro Nashville police said there was no sign of trauma and no charges have been filed pending the outcome of a medical examiner’s findings.

During their investigation, officers said they found 10 children under the age of three in the one-room apartment — putting the babysitter out of compliance with the allowable number by law.

On another occasion when a DHS Childcare Licensing Consultant and a Department of Children’s Services (DCS) investigator visited the home following the child’s death, authorities said the babysitter admitted to regularly caring for up to six children unrelated to her at a time.

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Five children were at the home during the visit, with investigators reporting that the “children were crying and had full diapers,” according to court documents.

Tennessee law states that any childcare agency must have that facility licensed by DHS. By definition, a childcare agency is any place that provides care for five or more children who are not related to the primary caregiver for three or more hours per day.

According to DHS, the primary purpose of licensing is “the protection of children.”

In addition to asking a judge to issue an injunction forbidding the babysitter from engaging in any kind of childcare without a license, DHS is also asking for the judge to allow the agency to monitor the woman for compliance with childcare licensing law.

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The application for injunctive relief was filed in the Chancery Court of Davidson County on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

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