August 19, 2011
(UnhappyFranchisee.com) Sexual Assault. Infant Neglect. Dangerously Unsanitary Conditions. You name it, Kiddie Academy franchise owners are under fire for it.
(Also read: KIDDIE ACADEMY Franchise Complaints)
Franchisee-of-the-year charged with sexual assault of a child
In 2008, Louis Himber was recognized as a Kiddie Academy Franchisee of the Year. Now he’s been charged with sexual assault on a child over a six year period.
In 2008, the Derry News story read: “The owners of Kiddie Academy of Windham… was honored by the premier child care providing company with the Franchisee of the Year award for exceeding Kiddie Academy standards and maintaining awareness of best practices in the early education and child care industry. The ownership group for Kiddie Academy of Windham consists of Kevin Himber, Lou Himber and Karen Flaherty Himber, Dan and Beverly Kennedy and Dale and Carole Tipple.”
The Windham Kiddy Academy is back in the news. The August 13, 2011 edition of the Eagle Tribune reads:
Louis Himber, 44, formerly of Londonderry and a co-owner of Kiddie Academy daycare center in Windham, was recently indicted on seven charges by a Rockingham Superior Court grand jury.
The child, who is now 13, was sexually assaulted in Londonderry on multiple occasions between March 2004 and March 2011, according to the indictments. Himber faces five counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, a felony punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison for each count.
Himber also was indicted on a simple assault charge for punching the child in the arm, a misdemeanor, and a second-degree assault charge for trying to strangle the victim’s mother, the indictments said. Those alleged incidents occurred this year.
Himber’s attorney, Mark Howard, and Kiddie Academy spokeswoman Wendy Odell Magus both maintain that franchisee Himber is solely an "investor" in the business and never worked there. They claim no children at the center were ever in danger. However, a court order specifically bars Himber from going to the daycare.
This tragedy is one more blow to the reputation of the Kiddy Academy daycare franchise chain.
5 month old infant dies under care of Kiddie Academy Staten Island
According to a CBS story, on March 25, 2011 5 month-old Jeremy Davlias was dropped off at the Staten Island Kiddie Academy. The workers there called 911 when they noticed Jeremy was having trouble breathing, but it was too late. Little Jeremy was dead by the time he reached the hospital.
CBS states that the parents blame Kiddie Academy:
The Davlias said they believe Jeremy would not have died if the facility had done its job.
“I think Jeremy would’ve still been here with us, absolutely,” Oscar said. “There is no question in my mind that he still would’ve been here with us.”
So do the Davlias’ attorney:
“Some of the things that went on here are simply beyond comprehension,” the family’s attorney, Marc Albert, said. “How did nobody take a look at this kid for three hours and ten minutes, especially when they knew he was sick?”
Parents claim the unsanitary conditions at the South Hills, WV Kiddy Academy caused their child to contract mycoplasma.
In January, 2011, The South Hills, WV Kiddie Academy was shut down for unsanitary conditions. Parents Kristina Russell and Christopher Aldrich filed a lawsuit claiming Kiddie Academy, claiming their infant has suffered from mycoplasma, an organism contracted by fecal matter coming into contact with the mouth.
According to the lawsuit, Russell and Aldrich’s child was two years old when he began attending Kiddie Academy in March 2010. The lawsuit claims that Kiddie Academy’s "unsafe and unsanitary conditions," include mold growth in the ceiling, on walls and around the kitchen sink; rodent droppings in multiple locations that included kitchen cabinets and utensil drawers, gnats in the kitchen, food rinsed in a kitchen sink that was not washed nor sanitized; staff members washing their hands after diaper changes in sinks where baby bottles were washed; no hand washing sinks near the diaper changing tables; dirty, stagnant water in the mop bucket and dirty diapers stored in open containers.”
The lawsuit claims that, as a result of these conditions, Russell and Aldrich’s child suffered "serious and permanent neurological injuries, including temporary blindness with a severe visual deficit." The family is seeking the $500,000 in medical expenses they’ve incurred, as well as punitive damages, attorney fees and interest.
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August 18, 2011
(UnhappyFranchisee.com) Kiddie Academy is a Maryland-based daycare franchise founded in 1981 by George and Pauline Miller. Kiddie Academy provides its franchisees with curriculum and helps them obtain all the licenses and permits necessary to build and operate their franchise daycare business.
According to Entrepreneur, Kiddie Academy rose 103 franchise and 4 company-owned centers in 2010, but then fell to 90 franchise locations and 2 company-owned centers in 2011. A recent company press release states that “Kiddie Academy Domestic Franchising… has over 95 academies located in 24 states, including two company-owned locations. Approximately 70 additional academies are in development, with 15 to 20 new locations slated to open each year.”
Kiddie Academy Boasts of its Extreme Franchise Support
According to the Kiddie Academy website, “Kiddie Academy® has achieved market leadership by working closely with each of our franchisees to promote the progress and growth of each academy. We make sure that our franchisees have the tools and guidance they need to run their businesses efficiently, so that they can have time for the other priorities in their lives, as well.”
In a personal message on its franchise website, Kiddie Academy President and CEO Michael Miller states that Kiddie Academy was founded on the philosophy that the franchisor will support each franchise location as if it were their own.
Franchise Lawsuits and a Franchise Warning
Despite the upbeat growth projections, Kiddie Academy has suffered a unit decline of greater than 11%, from 107 locations to 95 locations, in the past year. In recent years, there have been multiple lawsuits involving Kiddie Academy and its franchisees.
Additionally, a strongly worded warning to stay away from the Kiddie Academy franchise recently appeared on Rip-Off Report:
Kiddie Academy Kiddie Academy Franchising Rip off, beware of giving them any MONEY!!! Don’t fulfill their promises!!! Go with any other child care franchise!! Abingdon , Maryland
Joerg — St. Louis Missouri United States of America
Submitted: Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Beware of giving these guys your hard earned money.
They don’t fulfill promises or even contracts.
Read the fine print.
Distrust these guys.
Go with any other child care franchise if you want to really make an investment.
Go with any other child care franchise if you don’t want to lose your money.
Beware of the CEO, Beware of the sales men.
Ask to meet EVERYBODY that will be interacting with you (from start to end) and you’ll really see what they are all about.
A rebuttal post followed:
Ask Our Franchisees
AUTHOR: Kiddie Academy Domestic Franchising – Abingdon (United States of America)
SUBMITTED: Friday, August 12, 2011
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011
It is unfortunate that you had a dissatisfying experience. I welcome you to contact me directly so we can try and resolve your concerns. With a 30 year track record of helping build successful child care facilities across the country, we are proud of the integrity of our company, the quality of our people and value of our business opportunity.
Consistently heralded by our franchisees for our commitment to their success, Kiddie Academy has demonstrated our willingness to work with franchisees in achieving their desire for business ownership. Hear directly from our franchisees by visiting www.kiddieacademyfranchising.com. Our franchisees’ feedback speaks for itself and for the Kiddie Academy business.
So, we ask our readers, franchisees, employees and those familiar with the Kiddie Academy franchise:
Is the Kiddie Academy Franchise a Scam and rip-off to be avoided at all costs?
Is the Kiddie Academy a growing franchise organization with a franchisor dedicated to the success of each location?
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