New Path Academy will lease Children's Academy's four locations in the area
MANATEE -- The Children's Academy of Southwest Florida will cease operations by Sept. 14.
Instead, the Community Coalition for Children and Youth Inc., doing business as New Path Academy, will lease the Children's Academy of Southwest Florida's four locations in Bradenton, Sarasota and Palmetto.
New Path Academy will provide educational services "targeting youth from disadvantaged families aged preschool through graduation," according to a press release from New Path Academy.
Jennifer Radebach, the CEO of New Path Academy, said the availability and extent of liability insurance coverage for the Children's Academy of Southwest Florida affected the board of directors' decision to lease the properties to New Path.
Public opinion also factored into the decision.
"They've had just poor public and community perception of the academy, which has impacted donations and attendance at the academy so they just weren't able to sustain operations," Radebach said.
"Our mission is to provide high-quality educational programming for struggling and at-risk students, including the incorporation of leadership development, positive mentorship, innovative learning experiences and community resources and partners," Radebach said in the release.
Radebach was previously a special education teacher for the Manatee County School District.
She serves on Manatee County's Children Services Advisory Board and helped secure funding for the first Manatee County Youth Commission.
Radebach was the CEO and president of the Children's Academy of Southwest Florida from August 2014 until it ceased operations.
Before Radebach's tenure at the Children's Academy of Southwest Florida, the academy had its license revoked for the care of children younger than age 1 in February 2014 because of an infant's death at the facility on 26th Street West.
The partial license revocation was restored Aug. 1, 2014.
Kara Gartley filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Manatee County's Circuit Court against the Children's Academy in September 2014 after her 4-month-old daughter, Karissa Marie Sanchez, died at the day care. The litigation is ongoing.
Gartley dropped her daughter off at the day care center around 8 a.m. on Jan. 7, 2014, according to public records.
When EMS arrived at 11 a.m., the infant was found unresponsive, with blood and vomit coming from her mouth and nose, according to reports. She was taken to the emergency room and died the same day, the Herald has reported.
A medical examiner's report ruled Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as the cause of death in March 2014.
The facility director at the time told the Department of Children and Families the infant was fed and placed in a crib to sleep around 8:30 a.m.
Video surveillance footage from the day care shows a teacher placing the baby in a bouncy swing and propping a bottle next to her so the infant could feed herself, records show.
The teacher who initially cared for the infant tested positive for cocaine and marijuana on the day of the baby's death and admitted to the recent use of marijuana.
Janelle O'Dea, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow her on Twitter@jayohday.