DHS Responds To Van Buren Daycare Following Alleged Misconduct Reports

VAN BUREN (KFSM) — A day care in Van Buren is closed following a Department of Human Services investigation in connection with marijuana.

EPIC Academy Preschool/Childcare - a Christian ministry that prided itself on offering individualized care, and offered curriculum filled with Bible stories, songs and scriptures - has voluntarily closed following a DHS investigation.

"Our licensing staff went out this morning (Sept. 27) and found what appeared to be drug paraphernalia on the outside at the facility," said Amy Webb, chief of communications and community engagement with DHS.

The owner of the academy voluntarily closed the business after DHS representatives conducted the "complaint investigation" regarding reported issues at the academy, according to DHS.

Early this week, "DHS received a complaint alleging possible consumption of illegal drugs (marijuana) on the premises," Webb explained.

Webb said she didn't have the specifics about what was found, and police have been notified.

Parents affiliated with the academy were immediately called to get their children. DHS representatives remained at the scene until the last child left.

"I think most parents would have a good reason to be a little bit worried," Rachel Solis, parent said. "I don't really feel entirely that way. Ever since [my daughter] has been going here, the owners and the workers have been nothing but compassionate and generous and kind."

Despite the allegations, many parents said they've had positive experiences with Epic Academy and its owners.

"They're very good people," Solis said. "They're very attentive to the kids. They spend their entire life, that's what they do. They want to take care of kids and help them grow."

Now parents are left with unanswered questions and said they hope for answers and to bring their children back to the daycare.

"We figure we'll take it one day at a time," Solis said. "If we need to, we'll start looking for new childcare, but hopefully this is an issue that they can resolve and figure out what's really going on and we can put [my daughter] back in as soon as they can."

This is a developing story and the investigation is on-going.