Following the death last month of an infant at an in-home day care in Carmel, the State of Indiana on Thursday obtained a court order requiring the unlicensed child care business to cease operating, pending a further court hearing.
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Family of Resources, represented by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, filed a legal action Feb. 14 in Hamilton County Circuit Court. The State sought an emergency restraining order, preliminary and permanent injunctions and civil penalties against the Stacey Cox Child Care, 421 W. Main St. The unlicensed child care home, its owner-operator Stacey Cox, employee Kirsten Phillips who is Cox’s daughter, and any volunteers or workers are listed as respondents in the State’s action.
The FSSA and Attorney General filed the action to shut down the unlicensed child care that operated out of the Cox home after the January 24 death of a 5-month-old infant during child care hours. According to the motion and complaint, the infant was found not breathing in a broken collapsible crib, and Cox and Phillips, who were supposed to be watching the infant, underwent a drug screen later that day and tested positive for marijuana use.
Carmel police are investigating the infant’s death. The State alleges the Cox home operated illegally: more than five unrelated children were in the home’s care in violation of law and Cox was still accepting additional children earlier this month. Other health and safety issues raised concerns, including sleeping children left unattended in the home’s basement by the caregivers, and space heaters and a gallon container of bleach observed on the floor within reach of young children, according to the motion and complaint.
The State entities appeared in Hamilton County Circuit Court on Feb. 14 and requested an emergency temporary restraining order against Cox, Phillips and the Stacey Cox Child Care. Judge Paul Felix granted the State’s motion and ordered that Cox, Phillips and the Stacey Cox Child Care must cease and desist from providing any child care for any children unrelated to them, pending a hearing next week.
The temporary restraining order will be in effect until the court’s hearing on the State’s complaint for preliminary and permanent injunctions that would prohibit Cox and Phillips from operating a child care business and require them to pay civil penalties. The injunction hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, February 20, in Hamilton County Circuit Court.
“The facts of this case are disturbing and because of the danger, the State clearly had to act to protect other young children in the care of these individuals. The Attorney General’s Office is working closely with our client FSSA in taking legal actions necessary to bring a halt to such violations,” Zoeller said.