Atascadero day-care provider likely needed license

A state investigation will likely determine that an Atascadero day-care provider who allegedly was drunk when she crashed her SUV with four children inside needed a license to operate her business, state officials said Friday.

If that’s the final conclusion, they added, then Dana Amador could face additional charges.

The 42-year-old mother of three was never licensed with the state Community Care Licensing Division for her daycare business but was part of a voluntary fingerprinting and background clearance database the state keeps for caregivers licensed and not.

Day-care licensing is required if a person cares for more than one family’s children, in addition to the operator’s own children, according to the state manual of family child care homes.

Various exemptions exist to that rule, according to the manual, such as if the caregiver is a relative or if money isn’t exchanged. The state is looking into the inner workings of Amador’s operation to determine how it was set up, a process that could take up to one month.

So far, it appears she was charging clients, Community Care Licensing Division spokeswoman Jennifer Iida said, because she had four children in her vehicle that crashed.

“One child was her own, and the other children were from two different families,” Iida said. Amador was en route to an elementary school to pick up her other two children.

San Luis Obispo County’s Child Welfare Services is now determining whether her own three children should remain in her care, officials said this week.

Calls to Amador were not returned Friday.

Notice served

The state served Amador with a notice this week warning her that if she continues to run her day-care business, civil and/or criminal action would result, state officials said.

She will also be fined $200 per day for continuing to operate, according to the notice.

The day-care business’ name and operating address haven’t been confirmed.

Amador is already charged with driving under the influence and four counts of child endangerment, both felonies. She is out of County Jail on $100,000 bail.

Four children between 2 and 4 years old suffered scrapes and bruises after Monday afternoon’s crash when Amador hit a parked car and veered down an embankment on Monterey Road.

Amador’s preliminary blood alcohol content at the time of her arrest was about three times the legal limit for driving, police said.

Amador had been caring for children at least since January 2008, according to the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County. Any care before then hasn’t been documented with officials.

Amador was linked to CAPSLO when she registered with a state-affiliated background check service in January 2008 to receive state subsidized funding for a child in her care, said Shana Paulson, children services manager at CAPSLO’s Childcare Resource Connection.

That compensation stopped in March when Amador stopped caring for the child, Paulson added. A reason wasn’t in the records. Amador was receiving private client pay for the other children in her care, Iida said.

Numbers to call

Officials say the charges brought against Dana Amador serve as a reminder for families to be cautious and ask questions about who they trust with their children.