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Froehlich attacks Forte-Scott's business practices
By Chad Brooks | Daily Herald Staff

Anita Forte-Scott


Paul Froehlich


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Published: 9/30/2008 12:06 AM

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State Rep. Paul Froehlich is attacking Republican opponent Anita Forte-Scott for a number of state violations over recent years at her Elgin day-care center.

A campaign mailer Froehlich says he sent across the 56th District details violations at Bright Stars Academy that occurred in 2006 and 2007.

They include allegations children were unsupervised, children could access dangerous items and that the facility was understaffed.

Forte-Scott, a Schaumburg Township Library District trustee, released a prepared statement. She didn't return phone calls seeking an interview on the topic.

"My facility has always maintained its license and strong commitment to the safe care of children," Forte-Scott, owner and administrator of the center, said in the statement. "My staff is in full compliance with the state."

Forte-Scott acknowledged having violations at her day-care center, but she said the issues were resolved.

"Our staff immediately and successfully worked to meet and exceed their standards in the quickest of time frames," Forte-Scott said in her statement.

The day-care center received its most recent three-year renewal license in March of this year, according to documents provided by a House Republican spokesman.

To support allegations in the mailer, Froehlich provided copies of six licensing reports from the Department of Children and Family Services that detail violations found at the Elgin facility during spot checks by DCFS investigators.

Froehlich said he obtained the reports under the Freedom of Information Act, which makes many similar state records open to the general public.

The reports documented more than two dozen violations.

Froehlich's mailer features a child tied to a chair on the cover. He said that image refers to a claim in one of the reports that an employee tied a toddler to a chair using clothing in an attempt to teach him to sit still.

The report provided states an employee told a DCFS investigator in November of 2006 during an on-site inspection that they had used a piece of clothing to bind a 2-year-old child to a chair after he had been climbing on tables.

The employee thought that if he "was tied to the chair, then perhaps (the child) would sit still," according to the report.

Other cited violations, according to DCFS documents, include that the center was "dangerously understaffed" during one visit and that 2-year-old children were observed playing outside unsupervised.

"This operation was observed as putting children at risk, and the Department could not confirm children's safety in this facility," a DCFS report from Aug. 14, 2006, stated.

Froehlich said the violations should disqualify Scott from office.

"That record of repeated violations speaks for itself in terms of her trust and judgment," said the Schaumburg Democrat.

Kendall Marlowe, a spokesman for DCFS, declined to comment on whether such findings are typical or unusual in inspections.