Florissant daycare license suspended after 3-year-old left in cold for hours

FOX Files

FLORISSANT, Mo. — A north St. Louis County daycare had its license suspended after leaving a 3-year-old child alone outside for hours, according to a report from the state.

It happened on Dec. 13 at Tendercare Learning Center on New Halls Ferry Road in Florissant. The child was alone and unnoticed on the playground for hours, according to an investigation conducted by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The 12-page report we obtained indicates nine children went inside the daycare at exactly 10:33 a.m. after playing outside that December morning. Investigators said a tenth child, later seen on video remained outside as the cold dipped to 49 degrees.

According to the report, a surveillance video shows the girl, reportedly about 3 years old took “her jacket off, walked back and forth to the door several times, and laid down on the gravel.”

”Child A remained on the playground unsupervised until 3:23 p.m.,” the report continued. That’s’ almost four hours alone before another worker noticed her.

Betty Mills lives nearby and said she can see the daycare from her front yard. She didn’t know about what happened until she spoke with FOX 2’s Chris Hayes.

“Oh, it’s killing me,” she said in response to the investigation. “I can’t stand it, and I’m not kidding.”

Missouri regulators acted immediately, suspending Tendercare’s daycare license. The facility closed, but it is appealing the State’s decision.

Tendercare’s voicemail said it will notify parents when it reopens, and it’s referring people to its three other locations – one in Overland and two in St. Charles.

The childcare regulation investigation is also critical of the facility’s response to leaving a child alone. The report interviewed a worker who “didn’t know she needed to call the (child abuse and neglect) hotline.”

The report said no one at the daycare notified parent A, and as of Dec. 14, child A’s parent still had not been notified.

The Department of Education provided FOX 2 with Tendercare’s appeal letter that says in part:

“Our center does have written policies and procedures… our director had resigned and we were in the process of naming a new director.” It added, “Closing this center that we have owned and operated since 1993, leaves 80 plus children with no daycare and their parents scrambling to enroll in other centers so they may go to work. It also leaves 20 employees without work. A plan of action was submitted… (and) retraining was put in place and with a new director, we feel there will be improved staff.”

This is at least the second report in the St. Louis area of a child left alone by a daycare in December. In December, a Belleville daycare allegedly left a child alone outside. That facility remains open as regulators continue investigating that incident.

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