Childcare workers may sneak through system

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)--A daycare owner wants you to know about a safety loophole when it comes to protecting your child.  It`s a follow up to our daycare dangers report.

You can tell immediately, that the teachers at `Learning Days` are constantly thinking about safety.

Before going outside, one teacher asked, "Do our five friends know the rules?"

So when Director Shiketa Morgan found one of her employees failed to follow her rules, she immediately did something about it.  In April of 2012, an employee left a four year old child outside, alone. Thankfully everyone`s ok. It lasted just 20-45 seconds.

Morgan said, "Immediately I made sure that the child was comforted, because the child was very scared.  He was afraid."

Morgan said her employee claimed the child ran back outside on his own, so she checked the video.  Morgan explained, "The cameras are always rolling."  She was able to confirm, the employee left the child outside.  The door to the inside was locked.

Morgan said, "There`s no excuse. The employee was terminated the same day.  The employee did not feel the decision was fair."
Chris Hayes asked, "Why do you think it was fair?"
Morgan answered, "Because, first of all, we area high quality facility and our number one goal is to make sure our children are safe and for 30 seconds that child was left alone and he was scared and I believe she let us down that day."

Here`s where that loophole comes in.  Morgan`s child care center now has a permanent record with the State of Missouri and it appears on our daycare dangers database because of that record.  But the fired employee moves on without a blemish.

Morgan added, "Basically if another daycare were to pull that employees background screening, that situation would not even be indicated on the employees background check."

Carol Scott of `Child Care Aware of MO' explains that some centers are so desperate for workers, there may be a temptation to look the other way.

Scott said, "Some center directors really just need a body to fill the space of that teacher and they need it today and they`ll go with what they can get.

Scott recommends asking lots of questions, bring up past inspection reports and see how the childcare director responds.  She added, "The more transparent a director is, the safer your child probably is.  If they`re willing to tell you the truth about what`s going on, the good bad and the ugly at their facility, that`s a really good sign.  That`s another version of an open door policy."

Just last week, I exposed another case of another troubled daycare worker who may slip through the cracks.

The agency that inspects childcare facilities is the Department of Health and Senior Services.  If DHSS finds violations, the record is public.  A different agency, called the Department of Social Services, looks at the individual daycare worker to determine potential 'abuse.'  Proven findings by DSS are not made public, but may appear in a background screening. In relation to this incident revealed in this Fox Files report and Friday's report regarding alleged abuse on video tape, DSS made findings of 'unsubstantiated.'  That's why the accused employees can move on with clean records.

Here's the Fox Files Daycare Dangers Database.  It lists recent 'substantiations' by DHSS in the St. Louis area -

You can also get help finding a good child care program through the groups United 4 Children, Child Care Aware Missouri and Quality Counts Illinois

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