LIVERMORE -- Universal Preschool in Livermore remained closed Monday after state Social Services officials closed it down Friday and issued it multiple licensing violations, including citations for infants being "swaddled inappropriately."

In addition to a temporary suspension order against the facility, Social Services issued bans against employees Lida and Nazila Sharaf from working at any state-licensed child care facilities. The Sharafs, who could not be reached for comment, have 15 days to appeal.

The state is seeking to revoke the facility's license permanently, said Social Services spokesman Michael Weston.

"The facility cannot reopen under the current management and licensees," he said.

The action taken by the state comes as a result of a series of Type A violations -- those directly affecting the health and safety of children in care -- found by state inspectors over a three-day span last week.

Responding to a complaint received March 5 about infants at Universal being swaddled, inspectors made an unannounced visit March 12 and cited the preschool for improperly restraining infants by wrapping a blanket tightly around them, constituting "a form of restraint unless it is under the orders of a medical doctor," according to a state report.

One infant was also found sleeping in a car seat and another in a high chair, according to the report. Inspectors returned the following day, issuing another citation for the facility's infant center being over capacity.


Advertisement

When Social Services arrived to serve the shutdown order on Friday, the facility received four more Type-A citations, one for allegedly having a person caring for children who had not had a background check performed.

Lida Sharaf was also cited for having a person identify her as someone else to state inspectors and police. The report states an "ongoing deficiency" at the facility for infants being swaddled in their cribs, and that two babies had bottles propped up on them as they slept.

The state's complaint also accuses Lida Sharaf of asking a Social Services inspector to conceal evidence or not report the violations.

According to spokesman Weston, the Sharafs can request a hearing within 30 days and cannot perform child care unless an administrative law judge rules in their favor.

"It's not uncommon for the department to shut a facility down, but it's not an everyday thing either," Weston said.

Universal Preschool -- formally known as Sunnyside Infant and Preschool -- is an independent preschool, not affiliated with the Livermore school district. It is housed in an infant center and day care with a combined capacity of 42 children.

Livermore police were called to assist with the closure on Friday, contacting parents and standing by in the event of resistance from staff. Police have assigned two detectives to interview parents for the next several days to ensure no crimes were committed.

"As of right now we haven't found anything criminal, but we're still looking," said Livermore police spokesman Steve Goard. "It's a lengthy process; we have a lot of parents to interview."

Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.