Belleville daycare under investigation after letting toddler leave alone

FOX Files

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — A daycare in Belleville, Illionis, is under state investigation after admitting to allowing a toddler to leave the building alone.

No one noticed the child missing until a good Samaritan intervened. The daycare blamed an employee and said the worker was fired in response.

It has not stopped the in-home provider from being investigated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. FOX 2 has learned the daycare is being investigated for eight potential childcare licensing violations.

“For them not to even be aware that he was gone. I’m sorry, I’m really upset and it’s hard for me to put it into words,” said the toddler’s mother, Brandi Bland.

Her 21-month-old was found crying and alone, right next to busy North Belt West in Belleville. A stranger found the child and thought he’d wandered out of the nearby apartment complex. She told Fox2 on December 8th, “To just pull up and see a baby, I was just so shocked by it.”

She said it took three calls to 911 and her knocking on a dozen doors before she learned the child came from a daycare center about a football field away.

The child’s father, Demaggio Fluker said with disappointment, “It’s as if it never happened.”

Fluker says he’s not satisfied on the action taken so far against the facility.

“This isn’t something that should just be ignored, you know, I feel like this should be more than what it is,” he said.

The daycare owner told us Dec. 8, during FOX 2’s initial investigation, that the child was only outside for five minutes and that she fired the employee.

“I wasn’t horrified by it. I know the little boy was fine,” she said.

The former employee faces a misdemeanor criminal charge for “endangering the health and welfare of a child.”

FOX 2 has also learned of a continuing investigation by the llinois Department of Children and Family Services. Its investigative inquiries are listed online on a “licensed daycare compliance report.” The report lists eight potential daycare licensing violations, including the number and ages of children at the daycare. Regulators are also looking at assistants under 18 to see if they were supervised. They also want to know — where was the licensee when this happened?

The owner declined to follow up with an additional comment when we reached out to her today about the state investigation. She told us last week that we should follow the criminal case against her former employee.

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