TALLADEGA -- A Talladega woman was sentenced to six months probation Wednesday after pleading guilty to operating an unlicensed day care.
Mahogani Hunter, 27, was arrested in September after ignoring a warning from Talladega police that she did not have the proper license to operate a day care center out of her home on Welch Avenue, and that she did not appear to meet many of the safety and accessibility requirements needed to get the proper license.
According to Lt. Jimmy Thompson, the woman had been advertising day care services on Facebook at a rate of $50 per child per day. In late August, someone contacted the Department of Human Resources about Hunter’s operation.
DHR contacted the district attorney’s office, which in turn contacted Talladega police. When police and DHR inspectors first arrived, there were eight children in the home between the ages of 6 months and 3 years.
Three days later, still without any of the necessary licenses or safety inspections, the day care in Hunter’s home was open again.
Thompson said police made their second visit to the facility after responding to a complaint regarding scratches on a child who had been in the home earlier that day. The scratches were not consistent with any type of abuse, but when investigators asked where they occurred in order to complete the routine paperwork, the child’s mother gave Hunter’s address on Welch Avenue.
This time, there were five or six small children in the house, Thompson said. Hunter was arrested on a misdemeanor charge at this time, he said.
In addition to a license from the city, a home-based day care has to be inspected by the fire department, the county health department and DHR. The health and safety requirements for a home day care take up several pages, and Thompson said it is unlikely the house would have met all the necessary requirements even if it had been inspected by any of the relevant agencies.
Hunter’s guilty plea was accepted by Talladega County District Judge Jeb Fannin; she was represented at trial by attorney Laurie Andrijeski.
By state law, Hunter was facing fines of $100 to $1,000 and up to 12 months in the county jail. On receipt of her guilty plea, Fannin suspended all fines and order her placed on probation.