ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A childcare worker has been charged with breaking the leg of a 10-month-old child at a facility that’s not licensed for child care. Fox 2 News has learned that Missouri regulators do not require a license in this case. In fact, there’s an exemption in Missouri for daycares affiliated with churches.
Police and prosecutors say the 10-month-old broke his leg at Covenant for Life Child Development Center at 4417 North Highway 67 in St. Louis County.
“The child had to undergo surgery, so obviously our thoughts and prayers are with the child,” said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said. “We’re glad this wasn’t even more serious. This could’ve been worse.”
The suspect, 28-year-old Shakyra Nobles, was charged with felony child abuse. Bell says Nobles was captured on surveillance video grabbing the child in a rough way.
“Especially when we’re dealing with children who often can’t defend themselves or speak for themselves,” Bell said. “It’s just so invaluable to have this kind of surveillance where we can go and see what happened.”
The facility had no comment Monday, but a representative who answered the phone confirmed its exempt from state licensing because it’s affiliated with a church – Covenant for Life. That means state childcare inspectors cannot intervene like they did earlier this year at a different facility when Fox 2 exposed video last February of a worker throwing a child across the room.
In that case, Wilma Brown was charged with child abuse and the facility—Brighter Day Care and Preschool in Pine Lawn—had its license revoked.
But there’s no license to discipline or revoke at Covenant for Life Child Development Center because of the exemption. Childcare inspectors are not monitoring state regulations like child-to-teacher ratios.
Instead, it takes a criminal complaint—like the current abuse case—for anyone to investigate a license-exempt facility.
The health department and fire department still inspect all childcare facilities, even those exempt from childcare licensing through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. So you should still check your child’s facility records, where you can read basic health and safety reports. Those health and safety records are kept by DHSS here.
You can search by facility name or address. Facilities that only have health and safety inspections will be noted in your search as “license-exempt,” which is what you’ll find if you search Covenant for Life.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Facebook at Chris Hayes the Investigator if you need additional help researching a child care facility.