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Recent survey at Brighter Angels school and care center in Phoenix finds more than 35 citations

Posted at 12:51 PM, Jan 02, 2018

A Phoenix daycare fined for child abuse and an extensive cover-up has now been cited for 36 new violations in a recent inspection by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

ABC15 has been investigating Brighter Angels Learning Center, a preschool and daycare near Central Avenue and Baseline Road, since February. That is when an employee was caught on surveillance video smacking a child twice in the face with the sharp edge of a broom. Two other employees, including the daycare owner, were also convicted of attempting to cover up the abuse inside the facility.

Lillie Adams, the employee who hit the child, was fired. Denise Perla Sierra Duarte, the daycare director, left the company. Ruben Sandoval, the daycare owner, is still working and is listed as the licensee of multiple other Brighter Angels locations in the Valley. 

Despite a misdemeanor conviction for covering up child abuse in Phoenix City Court, ADHS said Sandoval is still permitted to work. 

The news of the 36 citations comes after ABC15 learned the facility received a civil penalty fine of $300 from the ADHS in regards to that abuse and cover-up. The daycare was given the green light to operate as normal following that fine and reporting to ADHS on how they were going to rectify the situation. 

"I do believe that we have to weigh the ability for people to identify a mistake, make changes and move forward and improve and correct," said ADHS Director Dr. Christ to ABC15 last month. 

The 36 new citations were found during an inspection on November 29, 2017, per the department's website. 

Some of those citations including more than five employees were not registered in the CPS Registry, which is now known as the Department of Child Safety. That means that these employees had not been properly background checked and did not have fingerprint clearance. 

Some employees also did not have enough training hours to be allowed to work in the facility and were also hired without any "good faith references."

Another citation was that children registered with the facility did not have health care providers listed, in case of an emergency. 

Another one had roughly seven children who had not been signed out properly on multiple occasions.

Citation 16 said: "It was found that the staff in the infant room had no feeding instructions for the 7 infants in their care. Staff seemed perplexed by what feeding instructions were."

Citation 29 dealt with transportation, stating that the bus was dirty and was covered with "debris and discarded papers." 

To view all of them individually, click here.

ABC15 looked through the records of a handful of Phoenix daycares and found citations, but 36 citations in one survey is out of the ordinary. 

To check your childcare provider, you can always go to to see the citations at an Arizona facility.