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City of Pahokee fails to get after-school funding back after child was left in van

Posted at 11:14 AM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 18:51:19-05

PAHOKEE, Fla. — The City of Pahokee fought to get funding back for its after-school program on Thursday, but ultimately failed.

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WPTV Contact 5 reported back in December that a child was left in a van belonging to the city's after-school program on Oct. 23, according to a Department of Health report.

As a result, the Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County pulled around $60,000 worth of funding from Pahokee's after-school program.

At a due process hearing on Thursday, the ELC board upheld its decision to pull that funding.

At Thursday's hearing, it was revealed that a Pahokee city worker told an ELC investigator that the child was limp, warm, and nonverbal when a football coach broke a window to get into the van.

The Director of Pahokee's after-school program said the child was in the van for 20 minutes. But an ELC investigator said the child could have been in van for as long as three hours.

An attorney for Pahokee said at Thursday's hearing they do not argue that the incident occurred. But he added that ELC should've just kept program on probation, and not pull funding, until they heard more evidence.

Pahokee City Manager Chandler Williamson said staff members have gone through retraining, the van driver was fired, and the Director of the after-school program was removed from that position.

There are also new transportation guidelines to make sure no child is ever left behind again, according to the City Manager.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident, as is the Department of Children and Families.