Daycare inspections in St. Louis County reveal everything from health concerns to lack of supervision

FOX Files
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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Teachers at the Chesterfield Children’s Center on Wild Horse Creek Rd near Baxter told inspectors about a mice problem in April 2017.

“I have seen them around the kitchen,” said one caregiver.

Another said she found “mouse droppings in the quesadillas that we were scheduled to serve to the children one day.”

She said they were thrown out before they were served.

The center responded, saying, “The complaint about the food was totally false; made up by disgruntled employees that are no longer employed here. I don’t know how a complaint can be substantiated from the testimony of an employee with no physical proof. However, to be extra safe we did a thorough cleaning and installed plug-in pest control devises throughout the school.”

However, in April 2017, a report documented a five-year-old child, known to be a “flight risk,” was “missing” and later “…found on the facility internal playground…left unattended for approximately 10 minutes.”

The center also responded to this allegation, saying it: “..immediately terminated the teacher and installed alarms on the doors to alert future staff members.”

The representative added, “The director is no longer with us as a result of these complaints.”

In Ellisville, Fox 2/KPLR 11 found a child care provider operating out of a home, where in May 2018, an inspector “…observed 9 children between the ages of 2 and 4 outside without any supervision.”

The child care provider, Charlene De Mello, responded: “Apparently, there’s a sexual predator or somebody on the list who’s in this neighborhood and I was not aware of he was within a thousand feet of my house.”

A state investigator claimed in the report that De Mello “is not cooperating with the department.” De Mello denied it.

“I’ve always been in compliance with the state,” she said.

De Mello emphasized that her backyard play area is surrounded by a six-foot locked privacy fence, which you can only enter through the house.

She described the site visit, saying the inspector, “didn’t want them going out unsupervised. Which is fine, so I corrected it.”

De Mello was alarmed when we told her the latest state inspection report said she hadn’t. She provided a handwritten letter—which she doesn’t think regulators received—stating she does “agree to follow requirements associated with playground monitoring….”

State regulators later confirmed they got the letter that same day and now document she’s back in compliance. Because you demanded it, we’ve expanded our daycare database to include a wider area. Now you’ll find additional “substantiated complaints” which now include Jefferson, Franklin, and Lincoln counties.

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