Another Investigation Involving A Little Rock Location Of Ascent Children’s Health Services

Local News

The Department of Human Services is investigating North Little Rock’s Ascent Children’s Health Services after a child was found unattended on a playground.

A woman who goes by Marie Stubbs on Facebook says she discovered the boy while dropping her own daughter off late Monday morning. She says she found the boy under a slide, in tears, with torn up clothes, bruises, and a bloody lip.

“I was on the phone calling the DHS hotline, I called everyone I could think of to report this,” said Stubbs in a phone interview. Stubbs says her Facebook name is a pseudonym and did not want us to report her real name.

According to DHS, Ascent management contacted officials Monday night to self-report what happened. Two employees have now been fired as a result. While DHS can confirm a licensing investigation is underway, a spokesperson could not comment about a possible child maltreatment investigation because those cases are confidential.

“There’s all these ‘what if’s’ going on in my head,” Stubbs said. “What if that child had died? What if I didn’t take my daughter to school?”

Monday’s incident comes less than two months after Christopher Gardner died at Ascent’s West Memphis center. Investigators say staff left the five-year-old in a hot van for more than eight hours.

Ascent North Little Rock parent Casie Livingston calls both incidents outrageous and unacceptable.

“How do you not know a child is missing?” she asked.

Livingston’s son Tracie goes to Ascent for behavioral issues and says overall, the experience has been great for her family. If it weren’t for the fact her son finishes his program next week, she says he likely wouldn’t be going back and she would be hesitant about sending her younger kids there.

“I don’t think I would do it,” she said.

Marie Stubbs, the woman who found the child and reported the incident Monday, says her daughter will not be returning to Ascent.

DHS says consequences for the facility will depend on the outcome of the investigation. If investigators find the child was left unattended because regulations weren’t followed, Ascent employees could be subjected to additional training. The North Little Rock center could also be placed on probationary status, which is the current case for the West Memphis facility. We’re told DHS will also look for patterns and similarities between the North Little Rock and West Memphis cases.

Ascent operates ten childcare facilities statewide. 

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