DHR notes multiple deficiencies in months leading up to infant’s death

Published 11:35 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

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The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) website details multiple deficiencies identified at Tender Years in the months leading up to the closure.

The website, Alabama Department of Human Resources (TEST), reveals deficiencies found during inspections on Jan 5 and 18 and again on March 25, the date a five-month-old infant died in the center’s care.

On March 26, a DHR report indicated “a five-month-old was asleep on the floor and was not checked on by the staff for an undetermined amount of time.” The report noted an unnamed staff person placed the infant on a blanket and allowed the child to fall asleep.

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It is not yet clear if the report describes the circumstances leading to the infant’s death on March 25 or whether the transcript describes a separate incident.

A note on the daycare’s door announced the facility’s closure Friday, due to suspension of the care center’s license.

A letter on the door explains DHR has suspended the license issued to Tender Years and invites anyone with questions to contact the Alabama Department of Human Resources, Child Care Services Division at 1-866-528-1694 and to call the Child Care Central-Tuscaloosa at 205-562-6022 for assistance in locating childcare.


In a social media post, Tender Years’ director Jean Gray announced the center’s official closure and thanked parents and teachers for their support.

News of the closure follows the arrest daycare worker Versa Mae Simmons, 68, who has been charged with murder and also four counts of aggravated child abuse.

Versa Mae Simmons | Photo courtesy of the Demopolis Police Department

The Demopolis Police Department is continuing to investigate the incident and asks that anyone with information regarding these events contact the department.

Continue to follow www.demopolistimes.com and Wednesday’s edition of The Demopolis Times for more on this developing story.