Madison day care center’s license revoked for employing man convicted of felony murder

December 31, 2018

A state agency revoked the license of a Madison day care facility on the Southwest Side last week for employing a man convicted of felony murder, according to a report by channel3000.com.

The Angels Joy Learning Center, 4293 W. Beltline Highway, had its license revoked Dec. 20 by the state Department of Children and Families after it received a complaint that said a man with a felony conviction of murder was employed there and had contact with children, the channel3000.com report said.

The complaint identified the man as Tracey Ferguson and it said he was paid “off the books” to conceal that he was working there.

Ferguson, 44, was convicted in January 1993 of felony murder with intent to kill/injure and felony aggravated battery in Cook County, Illinois, according to the report. It said he was paroled last January.

The report said that Ferguson is the brother of Angels Joy Learning Center director Angela Ferguson and he did maintenance and kitchen work while children were present in the facility. It also said that Angela Ferguson told state licensing specialists that her brother worked there after hours and was not a regularly scheduled employee who was paid by the center.

Angela Ferguson also said she knew her brother would not pass a background check and couldn’t work with children, according to the channel3000.com report.

The report said that state documents show that Ferguson earned about $5,400 there since Feb. 20. The day care center’s license had been held by Nyoki Lewis and she told state officials she is responsible for the payroll.

State officials also are saying that the center violated an agreement with the Department of Children and Families requiring Angela Ferguson to stay away from handling any financial matters for the center, the report said.

Previously, Ferguson operated the day care center when it was called Sandbox Childcare Center but she surrendered her group child care license on Dec. 24, 2014. The agreement was made because she has an outstanding balance of $35,000 with the state that the department is attempting to collect through a wage levy, according to channel3000.com.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the Angels Joy Learning Center said it was doing “everything possible” to cooperate with state officials to “rectify this situation.” It said it hopes to have the center open again soon and thanked parents and the Allied Dunn’s Marsh Community for rallying behind it with “ongoing support.”

The Facebook post also said the center is a “5 star Accredited, Multicultural Child Care Center providing quality care for children from a multitude of social economical backgrounds typically on the low income of that spectrum including foster and homeless families.” It said the center’s goal is to have “each child meet their fullest potential while providing the best child care experiences possible. We distinguish ourselves through excellence of care and education to young children.”

Angels Joy Learning Center also calls itself a pillar of the Allied Dunn’s Marsh Community. It says its the founder and host of the Back 2 School Backpack Giveaway where it provides school supplies, haircuts, manicures, shoes, parent massages -- all free of charge -- to more than 400 families. It also says it is the founder and host of the “Bridging the Gap of Diversity Parade & Celebration.”

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