Local News

Roxboro couple says state day care law is unfair

Posted October 10, 2012

Mary O'Briant owned and operated her in-home child-care center in Roxboro, M&M Home Day Care, for 13 years before the state revoked her license and shut it down Friday.

According to a spokeswoman for North Carolina's Division of Child Development and Early Education, O'Briant failed to report that her husband, Calvin Harris, a convicted drug offender, was living in in the home.

Under North Carolina law, anyone over the age of 16 who lives on the premises of a home day care must be qualified by the state.

O'Briant married Harris in 2010. She admitted to WRAL News that she did not tell the state because she was concerned Harris' past might be an issue.

She and Harris both believe the state law is unfair.

"These children were loved and protected here," O'Briant said Wednesday.

Harris was featured in a WRAL News Documentary, Justice and Redemption," Tuesday night on drug courts and how they are changing addicts’ lives.

"I do have a record, and I do take ownership for things I've did in my past," Harris said.

Mary O'Briant, Calvin Harris Roxboro couple says state day care law is unfair

After 30 years as an addict, committing dozens of crimes to support his habit and going to prison five times, Harris was offered the option of Drug Treatment Court in 2005. He graduated from the program in 2006 and has kept both himself and his criminal record clean ever since.

He and his wife even have custody of her 4-year-old grandchild.

He thought that, because he did not work for the day care and actually worked at another job while children were in his home, his criminal past would not be an issue.

"They're punishing her for my past," he said. "It hurts, because that's my wife."

Harris returned home while state inspectors made an unannounced visit on Aug. 21. As a result, he submitted to a background check and the state discovered his criminal history.

O'Briant was at home Friday when a police officer and two representatives from the state knocked on her door.

"I just don't think it's fair how they come in and put me on the spot like I was the criminal," O'Briant said.

Still, she said, she will not appeal the state's decision.

15 Comments

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  • something2say Oct 15, 6:10 p.m.

    The Division of Child Development has rules and regulations in place to protect our children. It is hard to know what the Division may have done if she was honest when he began living there. He obviously did come home from time to time for lunch as he did the day he was "caught". So it is important that he had a background check. If this story had been about a man who had been clean for years, fell off the wagon and left a stash at the house and a child OD'ed people would have gone after the Division for not doing their job. Not sure what the solutions are but I do know I want our children protected to the best of their ability!

  • brentf777 Oct 11, 6:10 p.m.

    The key issue here is informed consent. Were the parents aware of the man's past? If not, then they have a case against this woman. If so, then it is none of the government's concern. So long as the children are not being physically harmed, parents have a right to raise their children any way they see fit and entrust their care to anyone they see fit. Also, people have a Natural Right to practice a profession. Requirements of licensure violate this Natural Right. If I want to be a day care operator or a doctor or a laywer, the government has no legitimate right to tell me I cannot practice those professions so long as I do not deceive those I serve about my qualifications.

  • loving life 84 Oct 11, 5:46 p.m.

    people are quick to pass judgement.. how many people on his has a child of their own, and also has a family member that has a not so good past, but has allowed your child to be around them.. so dont be so quick to judge.As long as the man is not a pedophile who cares

  • chrissara1011 Oct 11, 4:31 p.m.

    he said he worked another job outside the home while daycare was in session...so what business is it of the states who lives there if he was not present during operating hours. Its hard to find caring child care that you can trust to leave your children in. now parents of children that were being loved and cared for now must look for child care and hope they find someone that cares about the children and not the pay. How would the rest of you like it if your boy/girlfriends or spouses past was a requirement for you getting or keeping a job. IF he had been home during business houses then i may have a different stand on this but the fact he was out of the house during business hours makes me say what difference does his past have to do with the daycare.

  • ladyblue Oct 11, 12:50 p.m.

    He graduated from the program in 2006 and has kept both himself and his criminal record clean ever since.

    He and his wife even have custody of her 4-year-old grandchild.

    It is a shame that bureaucracy has to have black or white-- no grey areas. here is a good example of a good law put into place that can also hurt good people, NO EXCEPTIONS.... the man has cleared up his act.SERVED HIS TIME AND PAID HIS DUES, found a reason to live right, and now his past keeps coming back to haunt not only him, but his wife. this woman knew the rules and she went ahead anyway and got caught. but i agree with her there needs to be an allowance for situations....

  • anonemoose Oct 11, 9:19 a.m.

    BOO HOO!!! IF SHE THOUGHT IT WAS OKAY FOR HIM TO BE IN THE HOUSE, SHE WOULD HAVE LISTED HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE.

  • Lamborghini Mercy Oct 11, 9:07 a.m.

    It's a shame people get so used to doing the wrong things for so long they forget it's actually wrong. Perhaps she should have choose another field from the beginning, instead, she chose to ignore the laws and violate the policies. No one forced her to create a home day care nor was she forced to marry a career criminal and drug addict.

  • Malaki Oct 10, 7:33 p.m.

    No sympathy from me.

  • determined2win Oct 10, 7:14 p.m.

    Sounds like there may have been a clear understanding on the rules/regs for running a home daycare. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. O'Briant failed to notify the authorities of her husband's prior life situation - as told to WRAP News - and has now been caught. Why not tell the truth from the beginning, and then this wouldn't be an issue?

  • westernwake1 Oct 10, 7:11 p.m.

    The real question is why did it take the state several YEARS to figure out a convicted drug offender lived in the home and shut down the day care center. Seems like the state is not on top of things when it comes to the safety of day care centers.

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