Daycare forgets baby, closes for weekend
BILLINGS, MONTANA —
A daycare in Montana said a miscommunication led to one infant being left alone at the facility after hours Friday.
It started as a post on a Facebook classifieds page. Residents said a 6-month old baby was left inside Kids 'R' Us alone after hours.
"At this point, I would definitely recommend that nobody take their child there," said Tanaya Merchen, the child's mother.
Merchen, a single mother, relies on her daycare to watch her baby Avery when she is at work. However, when she want to pick up her son Friday, that wasn't the case.
"I get out of the truck and I go to open the door, and it was locked, so I went into instant panic," Merchen said. "I had no idea what the situation was, I just knew I couldn't get in there, nobody else picked my baby up, so I was very confused. I called the director lady, the one I communicate with the most, and I called her and she answers and instantly she already knew.
"She told me, 'I know; I'm so mad. I'm almost there.'"
Kids 'R' Us owner Kim Redding explained it was a miscommunication among staff members.
"The staff said, 'The kids are gone,'" Redding said. "And (someone) said, 'You guys go on, I'll vacuum.'"
This is the kind of miscommunication the state wanted to avoid in 2014, citing the facility for not having an updated record.
At that time, childcare licensing found the provider did not have a daily attendance record that was accurate - 18 children were present but only three were signed in.
"It was a horrible mistake and we're sorry," Redding said. "We've got a damage-control method, just to double check, all staff to check out, sign out sheets and just be careful because it was a horrible mistake. And I'm not downplaying it; it was a bad mistake."
Other issues highlighted by the state in 2014 found that 18 children, including four infants, were in the care of one unapproved caregiver.
In June 2017, eight children were found in the care of one caregiver.
According to childcare licensing, there should be at least two caregivers when there are more than six children present.
State documents showed approved correction plans following those incidents and others.
"The only thing we can do, we can't change that mistake, the only thing we can do it put in (going) forward more extra caution," Redding said.