A La Crescenta daycare facility was shut down and its director arrested Wednesday after a 2-year-old girl being supervised there was hospitalized for being under the influence of marijuana, police said.
Roubena Hartounian, 50, was taken into custody on suspicion of child neglect and endangerment at her residential daycare, Bina's Family Child Care, which city officials closed after they discovered it had no power and there were rat droppings scattered inside, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
“The conditions of the home warranted a criminal investigation,” he said.
Police reportedly turned away eight families who tried dropping off their children at Hartounian’s daycare, located in the 3200 block of Orange Avenue, he added.
The girl’s parents dropped her off at the daycare early on Tuesday and picked her up that evening only to discover she was lethargic, he said.
Hours later, the child’s condition wasn’t improving so they took her to Verdugo Hills Hospital.
At about midnight, police responded to the hospital, where doctors confirmed the child tested positive for THC, an active ingredient of marijuana, Lorenz said. The parents, of Montrose, told police they believed their daughter “consumed” marijuana at the daycare home, he added.
The child later was transported to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for monitoring.
Wednesday, police went to Hartounian’s facility and waited until she arrived.
Detectives obtained a warrant and searched the facility. They discovered the toilets weren’t working and they found an unkempt kitchen with exposed knives and stacks of dirty dishes, Lorenz said.
Rat and mice droppings were also reportedly strewn throughout the facility and found on children’s toys. They also found drug paraphernalia, he said.
The “unsanitary and unfit” conditions discovered inside the home prompted code enforcement officials to declare it uninhabitable until all violations have been corrected, Lorenz said.
The facility, which was decorated with Christmas lights, abuts Valley View Elementary School and allegedly provides services to low-income families, police said.
In April 2005, Hartounian obtained a license for the small child care center for a maximum of eight children, said Michael Weston, spokesman for the California Department of Social Services. Someone is required to reside at the home as a condition of the license.
Hartounian told police she used the home for daycare services only.
Hartounian reportedly had a staff of caregivers, looked after infants and older children and offered hot lunches and snacks, according to a posting on Need Child Care, an online database of daycare options for parents.
According to the posting, the home provided “the highest level of nurture, education, and care in a loving and secure environment.”
Hartounian told officers she accepted referrals from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Lorenz said.
The social services department, he said, is investigating the daycare.
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