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ND regulators close Mandan day care center

MANDAN, N.D. — A day care center in Mandan has closed due to state safety violations.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that the North Dakota Department of Human Services revoked First Steps Learning Center's license on Monday.

Jennifer Barry, the agency's early childhood services administrator, said the day care had violations of required child-to-staff ratios, incomplete background checks of its providers and nutritional and safe food handling and cleanliness and upkeep issues.

Day care officials could not be reached for comment.

First Steps in Mandan is not affiliated with First Steps Learning Centers in Bismarck.

The department learned of the violations at the Mandan facility after a parent reported staffing, nutrition and cleanliness issues to Morton County Social Services on Sept. 23, Barry said.

Barry said a licensor was sent to the facility to investigate after the complaint and the department issued a notice of intention to revoke the facility's license if improvements were not made. Barry said the agency made several additional visits, but not enough effort was made toward improvement by the facility.

At the time of closure, there were about 60 children enrolled at First Steps, including part time attendees, Barry said. The facility was licensed for 99 children, making it one of the largest facilities in Mandan.

The facility had five full-time staff members, including the owner Amber Friez, and two part-time staff members, Barry said.

Barry said First Steps has the right to appeal the license revocation within 10 days.

Barry said families with children at First Steps have been referred to an agency for assistance finding new child care providers.