VALDOSTA — An area child care provider is in the Lowndes County Jail after she turned herself in to authorities Monday, according to Capt. J.D. Yeager. The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a 15-month-old child under the care of Doreatha “Cookie” Jones at her in-home child care facility who was examined by a physician and found to have visible injuries.

Jones was charged with one count of felony cruelty to children, according to Yeager.

In February 2007, Jones’ child care facility was investigated by the Bright from the Start program with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning following a complaint. The final report stated that Jones’ day care did not meet the requirements of registration or staffing.

The report stated, “In order to obtain or retain a registration, the provider of the home and its employees must be qualified, as defined in these rules, to administer or work in a home.” The report further states, “The provider does not qualify under these rules due to the fact that she has a substantiated case with the Lowndes County Department of Family and Children Services for lack of supervision (maltreatment).”

Related to the supervision of the children under Jones’ care the report found that “Children were not supervised in that a child was injured while in the care of the provider and the provider’s explanation of how the injury occurred did not support the nature and severity of the injury.”

Requirements by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning state that “ ... there shall be no adult present or residing in the home who has been shown by credible evidence, e.g. a court or jury, a department investigation or other reliable evidence to have abused, neglected, or deprived a child or adult or to have subjected any person to serious injury as result of intentional or grossly negligent misconduct.” Jones’ case with Lowndes County DFCS was noted once again in this section of the report.

The Child Care Services section of Bright from the Start is responsible for licensing or registering 6,500 family child care homes and conducts annual licensing inspections for child care learning centers and makes periodic visits to all child care programs. The focus of these visits is to evaluate compliance with state requirements and to provide consultations, training and technical assistance to child care programs, according to the program Web site.

The case against Jones remains under investigation with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

A representative from Lowndes County DFCS did not immediately return phone calls for comment.

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