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Home : About Us : Archives

Success Story Archives

Helping People Get and Keep a Job

Over the past several years, childcare centers have become a significant source of jobs for low-income people.  Spurred by this movement of jobs, Legal Action has devoted significant resources to help our clients solve problems related to their licenses that allow them to work in the childcare industry.  

On February 7th, we received an important decision from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in one of our childcare licensing cases, Jamerson v. Department of Children and Families and the Department of Administration.  The decision says that the Department can’t revoke a childcare provider’s license without giving her a hearing – a hearing where she can present evidence and answer or challenge the reasons for the revocation.

In this case, the Department revoked Ms. Jamerson’s childcare provider license – and her ability to keep her childcare center open.  The Department revoked her license because an employee of hers had committed a crime near the childcare center without Ms. Jamerson’s involvement or knowledge.  As soon as Ms. Jamerson learned of the employee’s alleged crimes, she immediately fired the employee, barred the former employee from coming anywhere near the center, and met with her other employees to discuss the incident with them and to reinforce the center’s procedures for dealing with employees who commit crimes.

Ms. Jamerson then appealed the Department’s decision to revoke her childcare provider license.  At the appeal hearing, she was going to explain that she didn’t know about or condone the former employee’s actions, show that she took quick and decisive actions when she learned about it, and that she remained fit to provide high-quality, safe, and loving childcare.

A few weeks before the appeal hearing, the Department added a different reason for revoking her license.  With this new charge, the Department said that a new state law was going to prohibit Ms. Jamerson from having a childcare license because she had a 20 year old criminal conviction related to problems with public assistance and food stamps herself, even though she had committed no other crimes since then and had run this successful childcare business, serving the needs of her neighborhood, for many years.

The Department convinced an Administrative Law Judge and a Circuit Court Judge to dismiss her appeal based on this second reason.  Ms. Jamerson was not given a hearing – even after the courts have stated, many times with other Legal Action-represented cases, that she must be given a hearing so that she could answer or challenge the license revocation and so that a judge could review the facts and the revocation.

Legal Action appealed the decision to not give Ms. Jamerson a hearing.  The Appeals Court agreed and has ordered the Department to give her a hearing if they are going to continue her license revocation.  Legal Action will monitor the case and represent Ms. Jamerson in a hearing if the Department continues to pursue her license revocation.