State officials are moving to permanently revoke a Lodi woman's child care license after they say they found multiple violations in her home. The alleged violations range from having too many children in her care to placing some infants in darkened closets.
Dorothy Bernhoft has been licensed to run daycare programs since 1982.
This week, investigators from the Department of Social Services paid an unannounced visit to her house on the 2300 block of Woodlake Circle after someone complained Bernhoft was not properly taking care of the children in her care.
Investigators spent 4 1/2 hours at the home during their visit on Jan. 31, and according to department spokesperson Michael Weston, at the conclusion of the visit parents were called and notified to pick up their children.
Berhnhoft's husband, Dr. Franklin Bernhoft, said that while he could not comment on the investigation, the whole situation was strange.
Franklin Bernhoft said his wife was "the most spiritual woman he knows," and that his wife would never hurt any children.
Dorothy Bernhoft herself would not comment on the investigation and said any questions should be directed to Stockton attorney Joel Perisho, who is representing her.
According to the complaint, infants were observed to be without supervision and buckled in car seats in darkened closets with the door shut.
The complaint goes on to state that investigators found radios playing in the house, making it difficult for Bernhoft to hear the infants or children crying or calling for her.
Bernhoft is also accused of having an assistant, Connie Duff, who was not fingerprinted or approved to work in a daycare facility.
Bernhoft also was over capacity at her home, the complaint stated. She was approved to care for eight children in her home. However, nine infants and one child over the age of two were in her care the day of the investigation, according to the complaint.
Bernhoft provided a statement to the department acknowledging she was giving up her license as of the day of the visit, though the complaint stated the department could still take legal or administrative action against her.
According to Weston, a complaint was originally lodged with the department in December, and after investigators inspected Bernhoft's home this week, Weston said the next step is to permanently ban Bernhoft from being able to ever provide child care services anywhere in the state of California.
Weston said department officials planned late Friday to serve Berhnoft with the accusations and documents to start the process of revoking her license permanently. As of press time, it was unclear if that service had occurred.
"We are starting legal actions that will never allow her to have any association with any facility licensed by us and to never be able to get licensed by the state of California ever again," he said.
Bernhoft was originally licensed with the state of California to provide child care for six children in her home in Roseville in 1982.
On September 20, 1994, Bernhoft asked the department to increase the number of children she could care for in her home in Lodi to 12, according to department documents.
Bernhoft requested the department place her license on "inactive status" beginning March 1, 2008, with the inactive status being lifted on July 1, 2010, according to department documents.
In a letter to Bernhoft dated May 28, 2010 to notify her that her inactive status was about to expire, Bernhoft requested that the department have her inactive status be extended through July 1, 2013.
But according to court documents, Bernhoft asked to have her license reactivated on Dec. 21, 2011.
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at email@example.com.