On August 10th I launched a post on Arbor Learning Academy in Malvern. It is called “down the rabbit hole: what happened to arbor learning academy in malvern, pa?” I let it simmer because I knew as I was writing investigative reporters from the Philadelphia Inquirer were digging into this story which is a bit of a mystery locally. I did not want to be perceived as scooping investigative reporters who are really and truly good at what they do.
Today The Philadelphia Inquirer landed a whopper of an article which I will get to shortly.
The only response I got from my initial post was:
One of the big things to me when I wrote my August 10th post was who was the mysterious owner “Jean” identified today as “Jean Sun”? Where does she live? Is she the only other owner? Are there others involved who stayed in the shadows?
And how does she fit into the corporate name lookups on PA database?
Most people thought that the owner was the face of Arbor since inception was someone named Lauren Lilley and she is whom we saw all over social media. I will note sometimes posts said “owner” or implied as such and sometimes “co-owner” and even “business partner”, then finally “creative owner” whatever in the Sam Hell that means. Is this woman just a pawn in all of this? How do all of the pieces of this puzzle fit in reality?
But if this was the owner or an owner and the boots on the ground in charge person there, why was she putting up ads on social media this past May for cleaning? Daycare centers/Pre-schools etc are full time gigs or should be, right?
And then of course there were her tik tok videos now deleted but some were screen grabbed. I was sent one. Not posting it. Ick. But suffice it to say videos seemed to have disappeared and now account is private?
And then there were all the DHS things I looked up. Not sure what is in what order, but here they are again:
So thank goodness for the parents who thought all was not right, and former employees as per the article, but I have to ask WHY DHS has let them go so long with so many issues for a place that hasn’t existed for that many years?
The article says a DHS lady involved in their investigation is Shante’ Brown, director for the Bureau of Certification with DHS’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning. Based on what I found on a state website her office is located in Philadelphia:
801 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3126
Telephone: (215) 560-2541
Toll Free: (800) 346-2929
Fax: (215) 560-5139
Now this lady use to work for the City of Philadelphia too. In theory, she las loads of experience, but after reading the Inquirer article I have to ask why she let this go on so long with so many issues and didn’t hut it down, if it was her decision? After all we are talking about the safety and welfare of kids, right?
It makes you question the checks and balances of a system when you realize this is just yet another place out here with issues. Allow me to provide links to other past daycare/pre-school problems out here in Chester County:
CBS Philadelphia: East Whiteland Police: 2 Chesterbrook Academy Day Care Teachers Caught On Camera Abusing Multiple Toddlers OCTOBER 31, 2019 / 6:00 PM / CBS PHILADELPHIA (same location as above: Malvern PA)
CBS Philadelphia: Chester County Child Care Worker Charged With Abusing 3 Toddlers OCTOBER 26, 2021 / 5:19 PM / CBS PHILADELPHIA (Location: Westtown/West Chester PA)
CBS Philadelphia: Former Chester County Day Care, Preschool Director Arrested For Failing To Report Child Abuse, Prosecutors Say DECEMBER 7, 2021 / 7:00 PM / CBS PHILADELPHIA (same location as immediately above: Westtown/ West Chester PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer: Two staffers at Malvern preschool accused of abusing children by Vinny Vella Updated Nov 1, 2019 (Location: Malvern PA – refer to links above)
So, it makes a person wonder doesn’t it? I realize government bureaucracy is government bureaucracy, BUT one thing that is super concerning are parents really expected to pay for day care and be the watch dogs when there are paid DHS watch dogs? Systems aren’t perfect, but after you read the Inquirer article, ask yourselves like I did why DHS leave them open so long?
If anyone has concerns about child safety, call ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. Concerns or complaints about licensed child care providers can be submitted online~ philadelphia inquirer 8/15/22
I have to wonder aloud if Arbor Learning Academy were allowed to re-open would we want it in our community any longer? And perhaps a dumb question but if owners are multiple or some financial only, do they ALL have to have state clearances to operate a facility like this? Do they? Did they?
So like Alice down the rabbit hole, we all seem to be waiting for the next shoe to drop. Here is the Philadelphia Inquirer article:
Pennsylvania News Philadelphia Inquirer
Troubled Malvern day-care center closes, revealing problems that plague the system
The Chester County day care is closed as the state Department of Human Services investigates complaints by parents, who have also filed reports to the local police over alleged drug use by staff.
Tuesday afternoon, Maurice Rouse walked around his daughter’s day-care classroom at Arbor Learning Academy and took down drawings and art projects that decorated the walls…..He and his wife, Erica, were among a small gathering of parents getting refund checks. The day before, the school had contacted parents a few hours after morning drop-off, telling them to pick up their kids early.
The Chester County day care center now remains closed indefinitely as the state Department of Human Services investigates complaints by parents, who also filed reports to local police alleging drug use by staff…An official with DHS would not address any specific allegations about the five-year-old facility…“We can’t talk about the current investigation,” said Shante’ Brown, director for the Bureau of Certification with DHS’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning….When needed, she said, the department will close an early learning facility immediately.
Meanwhile, the East Whiteland Township Police Department is investigating allegations of drug use, Detective Sgt. Patricia Doyle confirmed. She said the inquiry was ongoing, and “at this point there’s no substantiated claims.”
Abrupt and unexplained closures have plagued the center in the last year, more than half a dozen parents say, frustrating those who need child care in order to work.
One former staffer, Nicole Siuta, said she has been reporting the facility for alleged drug activity, child abuse, and endangerment since January 2021, when she resigned after 15 months.
She said she called ChildLine, the state reporting hotline for child safety, over a year ago to discuss similar allegations.
“I named specific names. I did everything and nothing came through,” she said. ….Over the last two years, according to DHS inspection records, Arbor was cited for 45 separate violations…
During a December 2020 inspection, DHS cited Arbor over one staffer who failed to obtain a National Sex Offender Registry clearance, and another who failed to obtain a required FBI clearance. Both staffers had worked at Arbor for about three months by the time the state inspector noticed the missing paperwork.
Last fall, state regulators switched Arbor to a provisional license. During a follow-up inspection about a month later, Arbor was hit with 18 more violations — once again, for having employees working with missing clearances….While Arbor’s temporary license appears to have expired in March of this year, according to DHS records, Arbor was allowed to continue operating.…An archived version of Arbor’s website from December 2021 has a welcome page that states “Arbor Learning Academy is a privately owned and operated child care center. The owner and Director, Lauren Lilley, has a degree in Early Childhood Education.”
Lilley did not respond to requests for comment.
Parents were told last week that the facility is actually owned by a woman named Jean Sun.