TDHS: Knox County daycare where 3-month-old died isn’t licensed

Local News

The Tennessee Department of Human Services says the Knox County daycare where a 3-month-old died Wednesday does not have a license to operate a childcare facility

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a 3-month-old was found unresponsive at a home daycare and later died. Deputies say the child was found around 2 p.m. Wednesday at a daycare in the Hardin Valley area. The child was taken to Parkwest Medical Center where he or she was pronounced dead.

TDHS says Sonyu Qualls admitted Wednesday to caring for five or more unrelated children for more than three hours a day without a license. Qualls operated a “registered home” from November 2000 – October 2003, allowing her to care for up to four unrelated children with no license. 

Unlicensed child care providers are allowed to care for no more than four unrelated children at a time.

This isn’t the first time she has been caring for more children than legally allowed. In September of 2015 TDHS received a complaint that Qualls was operating illegally.

TDHS visited the home in 2015 and confirmed she was operating with more children than legally allowed. Qualls agreed to reduce the number of children she was caring for and a follow-up visit found no violations.

Ms. Qualls was licensed to operate Sonyu’s Lots-A-Tots from July 2006 – August 2014 at which time she voluntarily surrendered her license.

The child’s body was taken to the medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death.

It’s not yet known at this time if there were any other children at the daycare at the time or who operated it. WATE 6 On Your Side will update this story as more details become available.

More online: Find a licensed child care agency close to you

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