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Day Care Defends Response to Heroin Incident

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Officials at the YWCA Day Care Center on Grant Street, where six children ate heroin last week, today said the staff acted promptly to ensure the safety of the children.

Officials at the West Side day care center said they have no idea how a five year-old boy in their care got a hold of the ten-pack bag of heroin. He was in school, ate breakfast, and passed the drug around to five other children who ate the drug before the teacher noticed.

According to school officials, that was about a half hour after school opened.

Katherine Lwebuga-Mukasa is Chief Operating Officer for the YWCA. She said they acted as soon as they were aware what was happening.

But the State Office of Children and Family Services last week suspended the day care center's license. In the letter notifying the center of the suspension, the agency stated that the children were in imminent danger and that the school delayed getting emergency care for the children.

The day care disputed those findings and an administrative hearing is scheduled for June 25 to determine if the center will be allowed to reopen.

The boy's parents told officials they believe the boy picked the bag up somewhere enroute to school. So far, no charges have been filed - nor has the source of the heroine been found.

Lwebuga-Mukasa said the center needs to reopen.

She defended the center's rules and procedures and said that an internal investigation found the staff acted appropriately. However, she did say, if they are allowed to reopen, there would likely be changes, including additional training.

None of the children were permanently injured from the exposure to the drug.

The boy and his two-year old sister have been removed from their home while the investigation continues.

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