ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. – FOX 2 has learned there are now two separate investigations into a St. Louis County rec center where a boy drowned Wednesday.
St. Louis County Police began investigating immediately, followed by state childcare inspectors who have now jumped in, after being contacted by Fox 2.
You can search childcare inspection records online just by putting in an address. Except when we checked the South County – Kennedy Recreation Complex – nothing comes up. State regulators want to know why.
The Department of Elementary & Secondary Education – DESE – wrote us saying, “The Office of Childhood will be investigating this situation as a complaint for an illegal provider of childcare care…”
Parents can search online through DESE’s childcare inspection database. If you put in 6050 Wells Rd, for the Kennedy Recreation Complex you will see that it says, “records not available.”
By contrast, if you enter an address for your local YMCA that operates summer camps, you’ll see a long list of child care inspection reports that will answer everything from staff ratio to CPR training This is an example list for Ed Jones YMCA.
DESE added that providers can file for a license exemption, in some cases. Under Missouri law, there is an exemption for — “any summer or day camp that is conducted in good faith primarily to provide recreation.”
However, DESE says it has no record of St. Louis County requesting a license exemption.
A St. Louis County Executive’s Office spokesman said their Parks Department is operating under Missouri’s summer and day camp exemption. Also, an employee at the rec center today told us they do not need a childcare license.
DESE, however, maintained that it still needs the paperwork from St. Louis County, writing “If the Program Evaluation Questionnaire is not returned and an exemption granted, (DESE) will send a referral to the prosecuting attorney for an illegal childcare program.”