Losing your license to operate a family child care home due to alleged drug use can be devastating. License defense attorney Michael Benavides can defend you against these allegations and negotiate with the Department of Social Services. In some cases the attorney can settle with the Department on probation rather than complete revocation of the license. To learn more about saving your family child care home call attorney Michael Benavides at (707) 362-4166.
The California Department of Social Services has cause to revoke or suspend any child care home license if possession and use of an illegal drug is found on the premises. A decision issued by the Office of Administrative Hearings, In re Emami, makes clear that any prolonged drug use or possession on the property of the licensed family child care home will be reason to revoke a license. In this case, the licensee’s husband had smoked and kept his supply of drugs for several years at the childcare facility, which also was their home.
Health and Safety of Children
The Administrative Law Judge declared that revocation of the license was necessary to protect the health and safety of the children. It was irrelevant whether at that time any child had come into contact, seen, or had been harmed by the illegal drug being stored in the facility. The potential that a child at the facility was to accidentally find the drug or come into contact with the drug-user while he was consuming it, was deemed to be a significant threat to the children. The licensee knew of her husband’s drug use at the facility but did little to try to stop this problem. Because of this, the Administrative Law Judge reasoned that the facility was unfavorable to the health, welfare and safety of the children and the parents who were engaging in their services. This was deemed to be in violation of California Code of Regulations, title 22, section 102417, subdivision (g).
When faced with a situation such as this, the Department will employ a balancing test, which will weigh a variety of mitigating facts presented against the aggravating facts of the drug use. In this case, the Department put into consideration the licensee’s reputation with her clients, and whether any complaints had been filed against the facility in the past. Additionally, the Department will put a greater weight on steps that have been taken to reduce the drug use in the facility. For example, whether the husband was willing to go to rehab for his drug use, or whether the wife had proactively tried to remove the drugs. The licensee had not taken any action in stopping her husband from using the drug. It was also established, that the licensee would be unable to successfully put an end to her husband’s drug use, or be able to remove him from the house at all. Furthermore, the Department put the husband’s lack of responsibility, unwillingness to rehabilitate himself, and little evidence of him taking accountability for his actions into deliberation.
Possession & Use Sufficient
In re Emami makes it clear that the licensee does not simply have to be the drug user, but anybody employed or residing in the facility for a prolonged period of time. This possession and use of an illegal drug by a resident of such facility will be deemed a dangerous environment. This activity will be a basis for revocation of a childcare home license, in addition to the drug user’s prohibition from the employment, presence, and contact with any other licensed facility.
Hiring an experienced child care license defense attorney is critical. Effective negotiation, timely discovery requests and presenting the a strong defense early in the process can help settle a case before hearing. To learn more about defending your family child care home license with attorney Michael Benavides call his direct line at (707) 362-4166.