Written by Victoria Caruso-Davis Friday, 11 September 2009 00:00
Carousel Day School in Hicksville has started the new school year fully licensed. Under the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), the agency that oversees a day care provider caring for three or more children more than three hours a day, Carousel is now licensed to accommodate 102 children.
Carousel, which has operated in Hicksville since 1956, made headlines earlier this year when 2-year-old Olivia Raspanti died after choking on a carrot she retrieved from a bag underneath her teacher’s desk. Further investigation into the toddler’s death determined that the school’s day care program was not licensed.
As a result, Carousel’s toddler program was shut down and an investigation was launched by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. In May, Carousel’s owner Gene Formica and director Kathryn Cordaro were arrested on charges of felony reckless assault of a child by a day care provider, reckless endangerment and running an unlicensed day care for toddlers; they are both scheduled to appear in court Monday.
Under the license, which runs from Sept. 4, 2009 through Sept. 3, 2011, nine toddlers, 75 preschoolers and 18 school-age children can attend Carousel. Additionally, in meeting state requirements, the school hired a new director.
“The message we want to send here is how easy it is to work with us to become a legal, regulated program,” said Edward Borges, director of communications for the state OCFS. According to Borges, the state will conduct inspections – both scheduled and unannounced – to ensure that Carousel remains compliant with all state and federal regulations.
Carousel attorney Marc Gann believes the state, in granting the license, has acknowledged that his client provides a “complete and fully licensed day care.” He told the Hicksville Illustrated News that the Office of Children and Family Services, “by granting the license, has closed a small window that Carousel didn’t even realize was open.”
To check if a day care center is licensed with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, visit www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main. Please note that, as of press time, while Carousel’s licensing dates were featured on the state website no serious violations or unresolved violations were listed.