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La Crescenta Daycare Remains Shut After 2-Year-Old Tests Positive For Pot

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LA CRESCENTA (CBSLA.com) — A La Crescenta daycare center remained closed for a second day following reports a 2-year-old tested positive for marijuana.

KCAL9’s Rachel Kim reported from La Crescenta, where residents say investigators ignored warning signs about the center.

She followed a paper trail of complaints made about Bina’s Family Daycare Center.

Investigators said the center was filthy and had unsanitary conditions. They allegedly found rat droppings next to children’s toys, knives on counters accessible to children, no electricity and no working toilets. They also allegedly found drug paraphernalia including a bong.

“It’s very disconcerting this was in our neighborhood,” said one woman.

Police served a search warrant at the center after parents took their lethargic 2-year-old daughter to the hospital.

Doctors discovered the child had ingested THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Police arrested the center’s director, Roubena Hartounian, 50, on suspicion of child neglect and endangerment.

“Bina? It didnt’ shock me at all,” said a father named Mike who didn’t want to use his last name.

He said he enrolled his daughter at Bina last year but was quickly disillusioned.

He and his wife enrolled daughter Eliza at the center just after she turned 1-year-old. They liked the fact the center was close to home and affordable.

By the third week, Mike said he picked his daughter up from daycare and noticed something was wrong.

“She had a huge bruise on her forehead and she had Vaseline on her forehead. And I said ‘What happened?’ [Bina] said ‘Oh, she tried to get up and she fell and bumped her head.'”

Mike added, “The next day we pulled her out. It was just a nightmare.” About Hartounian, he added, “I just want her to learn a lesson.”

Kim reported that the California Department of Social Services found problems during previous inspections including feces on the toilet seat and a strong smell of urine throughout the facility. On another occasion, a child reportedly told an inspector that he saw Hartounian push another child for not asking for permission to go to the bathroom.

Parent Marina Befu said she isn’t surprised that the center is facing charges of neglect.

She said she saw Hartounian pick up children every day from the elementary school her daughter attends.

“She would be waiting across a busy street and the poor kids would have to run across the street and get into her car and they weren’t even seat-belted in,” says Befu.

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