State Reaches Settlement With Kinston Day Care

The owner of a day care in the East has agreed to a settlement with the state, over accusations of falsifying information.

Under the settlement with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Child Development, owner Susie Evans agrees to close a branch of Farmer-N-Dell Nursery in Kinston, known as Farmer-N-Dell II. She must replace herself as administrator of Farmer-N-Dell I within 90 days, after which she can perform no administrative duties at any day care she owns for 2 years.

Administrator Michelle Aldridge, who was accused of falsifying the documents with Evans, is barred from administrative duties for the next year.

The Division of Child Development said Evans and Aldridge falsified the documents to receive funding they didn't actually qualify for.

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The State Auditor's Office says it is turning over results of an investigation into a Kinston daycare center to the SBI & the District Attorney's Office.

In a report released Thursday morning, the state auditor says the Farmer-N-Dell Nursery "admitted falsifying documents" so it could receive state funding for which it did not qualify.

The daycare center was receiving More at Four and Smart Start funding through the Partnership for Children of Lenoir and Greene Counties. From 2002 to last year it received $757,910 in More at Four funds and $443,414 in Smart Start funds.

The Auditor's Office says Farmer-N-Dell falsified teacher W-2 forms to show higher salaries than those actually paid as well as falsifying reports to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission. The report says the daycare presented a false credential letter to the Partnership for Children, supposedly issued by the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services. It also says the daycare did not conduct monthly fire drills which are required by state law and falsified fire drill reports.

The report also questions why the daycare owner, who also was board secretary to the Partnership for Children, was allowed to co-sign checks made payable to her own center.

The State Auditor recommends Farmer-N-Dell pay back more than $190,000 it received when it did not meet state standards, that the Division of Child Development revoke its license, and that the Partnership for Children should verify credentials for all More at Four staff.

In a written response to the auditor's report, a lawyer for Farmer-N-Dell says the daycare had repaid the money in question and had voluntarily ceased participating in the More at Four program last July.

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