Unexplained bruises, fourth violation lead to shutdown of unlicensed daycare

Jassmine Coffey told KATU her son, Charles, came home from an unlicensed daycare in Tigard with unexplained bruises in January. (Photos courtesy Jassmine Coffey).

Jassmine Coffey of Tualatin told KATU her son came home with unexplained bruises from an unlicensed daycare in Tigard in January.

No arrests were made but this month the state banned Jana Orr, the woman who ran the daycare, from providing licensed or unlicensed child care.

Betty Bernt, a spokeswoman for Oregon's Office of Child Care, told KATU that "Ms. Orr posed a serious danger to the public health or safety" and repeatedly took care of more children than the law allows.

Coffey said the state should have acted sooner.

In Oregon, you can legally run an unlicensed daycare if you meet certain requirements. If you care for three or fewer children that aren't yours, for example, it's legal. But if you take in any more than that, you'll need a license.

Coffey and her husband, Daniel, said their now 18-month-old son, Charles, is the kind of child who gets into everything.

“He’s really social," Jassmine said. "Like when I got my license renewed in January he was going up and down all the chairs of where everyone’s sitting and just putting his hands on everyone’s legs and saying, 'Hi.'”

Last winter the couple was looking for a daycare provider and Jassmine said she found one through a Facebook group.

"I posted something on the group looking for child care and she answered," Jassmine said. "She was one of the few people that answered."

The provider was Orr. Oregon's Office of Child Care (OCC) said she ran the unlicensed daycare out of her apartment off Southwest Ash Avenue in Tigard.

Jassmine said after interviewing Orr and four or five other people, they decided they liked her.

"She told us at the time that she only watched three kids fully at a time, which I liked," Jassmine explained, "'cause I liked him having the attention that he deserves."

Jassmine said Charles' first day with Orr was on Jan. 2 and in the beginning everything was fine.

But about two weeks later there was a problem.

"Just one day randomly he came home with an internal bruise in his ear. And then there was a bruise going across his nose. And she didn't really have an explanation for it," Jassmine said. "She mentioned it earlier in the day and she said that she thought he hit himself with a Hot Wheel car but then she also asked if he came with a bruise already. ... The coincidence is is that I actually took a picture of him that morning before I left for work and there wasn't a bruise."

Jassmine said she then made an appointment with her son's pediatrician.

"She didn't find anything wrong internally 'cause there wasn't bleeding or anything but she also said that she was concerned," she explained.

Jassmine said the doctor reported the case to Oregon's Department of Human Services (DHS).

Tigard police told KATU that DHS asked them to visit Orr's apartment on Feb. 28. They said no arrests were made.

DHS would neither confirm nor deny they're investigating but Bernt, of the OCC, said, "We are taking the allegations ... very seriously."

Meanwhile, Jassmine said Orr cared for Charles until March 5.

"We kept taking him to her anyway just because at the time we didn't really have many options," she said. "We would check him every day."

Bernt said for the fourth time the OCC cited Orr for taking care of more children than the law allows. She said Orr was fined just once for her three previous violations for $100 in 2016. Before that Bernt said she was only given warnings.

"With her having three previous citations and she's still open and still doing what she's doing it's just appalling to me honestly," said Jassmine.

Bernt said this time the OCC didn't fine Orr but it removed her from its central background registry, effectively banning her from providing licensed or unlicensed child care as of April 20.

"We will be following up with both unannounced and announced visits to ensure Orr is not providing care illegally," Bernt said via email.

Jassmine said her son is doing fine.

Since last month a KATU reporter has left Orr multiple voicemails and emails. He also mailed her a letter and she did not immediately respond.

Meantime, the OCC offers a link on its website where you can look up the complaint history of licensed providers. They ultimately recommend you call them to get a more complete picture of a provider's background at 503-947-1400 or 1-800-556-6616.

For tips on how to find quality child care, click here.

Gov. Kate Brown recently signed a bill into law aimed at strengthening child care regulations in Oregon. It goes into effect on Sept. 30.

Brown said the law allows stronger and quicker action against both licensed and illegal child care facilities. She said it does that in part through significantly higher penalties, though first-time violations will still have a maximum fine of just $100.

Lawmakers also approved the governor's request for nearly $2 million to help increase staffing at the Office of Child Care, Early Learning Division and DHS.

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