WALNUT RIDGE, AR - You'll think twice about dropping off your child at daycare after you hear what happened to a Walnut Ridge toddler recently. The panic that gripped the child's mother is mother is re-lived every time she tells the tale of how her little boy was left behind, "unattended" in a "locked" daycare--while she searched frantically to find him.
"It terrifies me to leave him," said Jayme Jones as she talked about what happened to her son. She took a lunch break from work to tell Diana Davis about the incident.
Jones remembers the day well when she went to pick up her 14-month old son at a Walnut Ridge daycare center.
"When I got there the doors were locked and all the lights were out," said Jayme.
So she got back into her car, called her husband, drove to her house to make more phone calls. One call she made to her mother, the emergency contact for her son while she (Jayme) is working. Still nothing.
"I completely panicked at that point, when my Mom didn't know anything," said Jayme. "I got back into the car and drove to the director of the daycare's home. At that point, I had forgotten phone numbers. I didn't want to make any more calls. So I just went straight to her house and knocked on her door. I just knew at that point, it hit me that they had forgotten him."
Without waiting, Jayme drove back to the daycare, the director followed close behind.
"Me, my dad, and the director all got to the daycare at about the same time," explained Jayme. "And there he was all alone, lights out in a playpen by himself."
Jayme and her husband made a report to the Arkansas State Police about the incident. They turned the case over to an investigator for the Arkansas Department of Children and Family Services. She found in her report, "the evidence indicated the allegation of suspected child mistreatment against the director should be determined to be not true or unsubstantiated."
Even thought the Joneses were told their claims were found untrue, the Department of Human Services Division responsible for licensing of the state's daycare's has recognized their was a problem. It's all here in this report.
The documentation says Nanny's House Daycare failed to insure the health, safety and welfare of the children in care by allowing an infant to be left locked in the facility for an extended period of time with no supervision. The Corrective Action Agreement requires several corrective actions: including a six month probation and high priority monitoring by the state. Extra training will be necessary for all staff and they must sign off on written procedures accounting for children. Most importantly, they will have to check all areas of the facility for children at the end of every day and keep daily logs for the state.
Still Jayme would like to see that parents are made aware of the incident.
"It's a matter of if a parent wants to research this daycare and they want to send their child there, they need to see that this incident happened," said Jayme. "And that they have this complaint against the daycare and so I'm trying to make sure that happens."
The owner and operator of Nanny's House declined to share her side of the story. The sign outside says Nanny's House offers 24 hour child care and claims to be quality approved. Yet, the state's web site shows it is not.
Jayme cautions other parents to not believe everything they see and hear.
"Be careful. Just because they're licensed doesn't mean they're a grade A daycare," cautions Jayme.