Shooting Stars Child Development Center will remain open with a temporary license under a settlement agreement with the state.

The private Astoria child care facility, which can serve up to 50 children, has agreed to weekly on-site appointments with a quality improvement specialist. The specialist will review record-keeping, staffing, supervision, training, teacher qualifications, hand-washing, the enrollment of staff and volunteers in a central background registry and the separation of infants and toddlers from older children.

Kid art

Art projects from children hang on the walls at Shooting Stars Child Development Center.

In September, the state Department of Education notified Shooting Stars that the facility’s license would not be renewed because of too many noncompliance findings. After the intervention of state Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, the state and Shooting Stars agreed to work toward a resolution.

State records detail several noncompliance findings and complaints at Shooting Stars. Over the summer, for example, the state found there was not enough staff for the number of children. Toddlers were also combined with preschool and school-age children.

State staff will help Shooting Stars develop and fine-tune procedures to address issues so they don’t have the deficiencies, said Melanie Mesaros, the communications director for the Department of Education’s Early Learning Division.

Denise Giliga, the owner and director at Shooting Stars, said she is confident she will be able able to work with the state and stay in compliance.

Giliga said she is also working with Northwest Regional Child Care Resource and Referral to help identify any pitfalls or stumbling blocks they can help eliminate.

“Because if I’m experiencing this then I’m sure there’s other directors having the same issues and running into the same stumbling blocks,” she said.

Giliga said the state issued Shooting Stars a 30-day temporary license. However, the process outlined in the settlement agreement will take six months.

Giliga is thankful for a resolution, but she said parents are still a little on edge.

“The parents are settled,” she said. “But I think they’re still kind of wary because they had that scare and they know it could happen again to anywhere they go.”

Nicole Bales is a reporter for The Astorian, covering police, courts and county government. Contact her at 971-704-1724 or nbales@dailyastorian.com.

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