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Tue, Oct. 22

Kiddie Depot closes as Health Services investigates

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier

A spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Economic Security said Wednesday that the department has pulled its contract with Kiddie Depot, a Prescott Valley childcare business, because Kiddie Depot is under investigation by the Prescott Valley Police Department and by the Arizona Department of Health Services, which licenses childcare businesses.

Liz Barker-Alvarez said DES sent officials of Kiddie Depot, 2821 N. Mountain View Drive, a letter Tuesday notifying them that DES was pulling its contract because the Department of Health Services and the Prescott Valley Police Department were investigating the business in regards to "allegations of harm to the children."

DES contracts with childcare businesses so that children receiving state childcare subsidies can send their children there.

Barker-Alvarez said 20 state-subsidized children attended Kiddie Depot.

A woman who identified herself over the telephone as the assistant director at Kiddie Depot but declined to give her name said Wednesday that the childcare center was closing down at midnight.

She said all of the parents at the facility had been notified.

"The parents are distraught," the woman said.

The director of Kiddie Depot did not return phone messages seeking comment.

Asked why the business was closing down, the woman said, "It's circumstances beyond our control."

Janie Pearl, spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Health Services, said, "We are investigating the facility so we can't really talk about what's going on."

Prescott Valley Police Chief Jim Maxson, contacted by phone and asked if his department was investigating Kiddie Depot, initially said, "We do have an investigation."

However, when asked for details he declined to comment and said it didn't involve Kiddie Depot.

When asked to explain who was involved in the investigation or what was under investigation, Maxson said he wasn't going to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Sgt. Brandon Bonney, the department's spokesman, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The ADHS licensing website lists First United Pentecostal Church as the operator of Kiddie Depot. On Wednesday the site said, "no enforcement actions for this provider" exist.

The site says it last surveyed Kiddie Depot on Oct. 9, 2008 and issued seven citations, which Kiddie Depot corrected on Nov. 4, 2008.

Kiddie Depot's website says it is a Christian-based preschool open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and uses age appropriate Christian videos, music, tapes and Bible-based stories.

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