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WOMAN ACCUSED OF DODGING SYSTEM

WOMAN ACCUSED OF DODGING SYSTEM

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A year before two toddlers were burned in her unregistered day-care home, state officials started warning Vickye Woods that she was violating day-care standards. For eight months, the state had been trying to shut down her Greensboro day care.

The case illustrates how North Carolina is hard pressed\ A time line of the Vickye Woods case - B2to police registration of more than 3,300 day-care homes. The state has 13 employees to do the job.Woods' day-care homes, first in a rented house at 1803 Yarbrough Drive and later in a house she owns at 543 Apple Ridge Road, have been under investigation at least since December 1989.

That month, Guilford County health workers, investigating a reported case of meningitis, found 28 more children on Woods' rolls than the eight she was legally allowed to keep in a day-care home. A day-care home differs from a day-care center in that the home provides \ for fewer children and it is not required to meet as many safety and training standards.

Since December 1989, state records show, employees of the N.C. Child Day Care Section have been investigating complaints that Woods kept too many children in her day-care home and that children in her care had been neglected or hurt.

Moreover, the home she operated in a rented house at 1803 Yarbrough Drive was condemned in April 1990 after a city inspector found a leaking sink, dirty and unsanitary floors and walls and other code violations.

During that visit, the inspector counted 13 children, of whom four were in a closet, records show. Woods ordered the inspector off the property, and the inspector had to return with a police escort. The inspector, Nadine Buchanan, declined to comment.

Four days later, Woods moved her operation to a house she owns at 543 Apple Ridge Road, even though state day-care registrations are not transferable to new addresses.

Records prepared by state officials and signed by Woods or her employee also document at least four visits by state officials in late 1989 and early 1990 to homes operated by Woods.

In a letter dated Aug. 16, 1990, state officials warned Woods not to operate an unregistered day-care home. The letter also told her that, because of past violations, it would be ``unlikely' she could get any registration approved.

Records show state officials maintained surveillance on Woods' home on two days in November and found no evidence she was still in business. Police now believe she was.

Woods declined to be interviewed.

She was charged Jan. 26 with running an unregistered day-care home after a six-week police investigation. That probe stemmed from the incident Dec. 14 in which Woods' child and another toddler were burned when one of them pulled a pot of hot food off a stove. One of them was hospitalized overnight.

Woods' employee, Sharon Campbell, was charged with misdemeanor child abuse. Police ruled out felony abuse charges after determining the incident was an accident. Both women are scheduled to appear March 25 in Guilford District Court.

Taunya Rice of Greensboro, who formerly kept her two children at Woods' day-care home, said she complained to the state about a year ago that they had been injured by Woods' children and that Woods kept more children than allowed.

State records confirm that Rice's daughters were kept at Woods' home. The state letter Aug. 16 to Woods refers to ``your failure to provide adequate supervision of children in your care which resulted in injuries to children' but doesn't identify the children.

It also refers to her ``attempts to conceal or suppress information' related to investigations of her home.

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