Florissant daycare license suspended after 3-year-old stayed in the cold for hours
FLORISSANT, Mo. – A northern St. Louis County daycare has had its license suspended after leaving a 3-year-old alone outside for hours, according to a state report.
It happened on December 13 at the Tendercare Learning Center on New Halls Ferry Road in Florissant. The child was alone and unnoticed on the playground for hours, according to an investigation by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The 12-page report we obtained indicates that nine children entered the daycare at exactly 10:33 am after playing outside that December morning. Investigators said a tenth child, later seen on video, remained outside as the cold fell to 49 degrees.
According to the report, surveillance footage shows the girl, who is believed to be around 3 years old, “took off her jacket, walked back and forth to the door several times and lay down on the gravel.”
“Child A remained on the playground unattended until 3:23 pm,” the report continued. It’s only almost four hours before another worker notices her.
Betty Mills lives nearby and said she can see the daycare from her front yard. She didn’t know what had happened until she spoke with Chris Hayes from FOX 2.
“Oh, it’s killing me,” she said in response to the inquiry. “I can’t take it, and I’m not kidding.”
Missouri regulators acted immediately, suspending Tendercare’s daycare license. The establishment closed, but is appealing the state’s decision.
Tendercare’s voicemail said it would notify parents of its reopening and direct people to its three other locations – one in Overland and two in St. Charles.
The survey of childcare regulations is also critical of the facility’s response to leaving a child alone. The report interviewed a worker who “did not know she should call the child abuse and neglect hotline”.
The report states that no one at the daycare informed parent A, and as of December 14, the parent of child A still had not been informed.
The Department of Education provided FOX 2 with Tendercare’s appeal letter which says in part:
“Our center has written policies and procedures… our director had resigned and we were in the process of appointing a new director. He added: “The closure of this center, which we have owned and operated since 1993, leaves more than 80 children without a daycare center and their parents scramble to enroll in other centers so they can go to work. It also leaves 20 employees out of work. An action plan has been submitted… (and) a retraining has been put in place and with a new director, we believe that there will be an improvement in staff.
This is at least the second report in the St. Louis area of a child left alone by daycare in December. In December, a Belleville daycare reportedly left a child alone outside. This facility remains open as regulators continue to investigate this incident.