TARGET 8: Employees say Columbia day care should be shut down

2 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Thursday, July 27 2017 Jul 27, 2017 Thursday, July 27, 2017 3:32:00 PM CDT July 27, 2017 in Target 8
By: Karla Valcourt, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - When finding a day care facility, parents expect their child to be taken care of, but former employees at a Columbia day care say the children there are not safe.

The employees at Lots of Love day care said they were not getting paid regularly or properly, and the money issues trickled into other areas of the day care. 

"Those poor kids were hungry," former employee Montajia Staten said.

Kay Otterbourg said one package of graham crackers would feed 15 kids. 

"They're getting one-half of graham cracker is all they're getting. With no drink, no nothing else. That's it," Otterbourg said.

Shauna Kunze said, "I think if a parent were to walk in at lunch time and see what I served their child, I don't think they would be happy."

The employees do not understand why the facility is short on food since it receives assistance from the Missouri Department of Heath and Senior Services Child and Adult Care Food Program.

On June 14, the Department of Health and Senior Services investigated the day care after an employee anonymously described the food situation. The complaint investigation stated the facility cook told investigators she does not measure the snacks for the children.

The report noted, "Child Care Facility Specialist Cynthia Maddox and Child Care Supervisor Christina Bruce observed a limited amount of food in the kitchen that would be insufficient for 40 children.”

According Child Care Facility Details on the day care, the center has consistently violated licensing rules since it opened in 2015. One of the most common violations is staff-to-child ratios.

The department outlines ratios to maintain a secure environment for children, but Staten said the facility was always over ratio. 

Staten worked in the 2-year-old room where the ratio should be one caregiver to eight children. She said she was consistently in the classroom with 13 to 14 children at a time. 

"That's when accidents happen," Staten said. "That's when kids get hurt. That's when fights happen, and nobody knows."

According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, two babies escaped the day care from the playground area on June 20.

A licensing worker went to the day care the day of the incident to investigate a complaint and found the children in the parking lot area. The employee who was supposed to be supervising the infants said she had one more child than the state regulation allows.

Employees said the department visits the daycare frequently, yet has not done enough to ensure the safety of the children.

They said the paycheck issue and the difficult environment contributed to leaving the facility. Kunze said she noticed the high turnover rate in the four months she was there.

"The turnover rate is just extreme," Kunze said. "While I was there, I saw four teachers leave."

A former parent said her daughter had five different teachers in the 10 months she was at the daycare. She asked to remain anonymous. 

"You get comfortable with a certain teacher, and then it could be 3 months then you have a new teacher. And then it could be two weeks, and then you have a new teacher again," she said.

The parent said the high turnover rate took a toll on her daughter. 

"It's hard to wake her up in the morning, and she doesn't want to be there," she said.

The parent said she eventually removed her daughter from the daycare because her 4-year-old daughter was not learning.

"I feel like when you go to day care or preschool they should be learning; tracing their name, tracing 1,2,3, doing A,B,Cs every single morning," the source said. 

The mother said Columbia Public Schools tested her daughter and said she was behind on motor and language skills.

“She was asked to spell her name, and she could only spell three letters of her name and she has seven letters to her name,” she said. 

The parent said the result was not what she expected from a school advertised as a preschool. 

"I was upset that I spent all of that money and nothing to show for it," the parent said. 

However, employees said it was difficult to teach the children without adequate supplies. They said when they asked the employer for supplies, she advised them to purchase it on their own without reimbursement.

Kunze and Otterbourg said they paid for supplies on their own. 

"We didn't have paper, we didn't have pencils, I brought in markers from home," Kunze said.

Staten said, "It wasn't like we were asking for expensive stuff - like literally paper, markers, just simple stuff."

They said the money problems trickled into the curriculum.

“These kids that are going into kindergarten this year, they don't even know their months of the year," Otterbourg said. "You ask them a letter on the alphabet chart, they couldn't tell you.

The employees have one message for parents.

"I don't want anyone else's children to not be provided for, and I want the parents there to understand what's going on," Kunze said.

The employees question why the facility is still running after constant 'slaps on the wrists.'

“It's going to take something bad to happen there for state to actually open their eyes and say, 'oh my gosh' there's something wrong with this center.”

KOMU 8 News reached out to the owner of Lots of Love, but the owner refused to comment. She instead wrote a Bible verse on a post-it note: "No weapon formed against me shall prosper."

KOMU 8 News also reached out to the Department of Health and Senior Services about the investigation. It did not comment.

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis Community College professor was grabbed from behind by an officer, pulled to the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 1:33:18 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
MOBERLY - The Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel (MASFAP) is celebrating 50 years of providing greater access to... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 1:09:00 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Kansas City's efforts to obtain $40 million in federal funding to replace an important bridge are... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 10:43:44 AM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Center Project, mid-Missouri's LGBTQ community center, will provide free health care and behavioral health services Saturday to... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 7:20:00 AM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Local charity Pink Pursuit raises money to provide mammograms on a van that travels across Missouri. "I... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 3:25:00 AM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone and Callaway County has a new circuit judge. Judge J. Hasbrouck “Brouck” Jacobs will preside over... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 8:04:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri high school football teams are kicking off the final week of Friday Night Fever. In our FNF... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:51:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri kicked off its 106th Homecoming game day early Saturday morning with a parade full... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:38:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Fight for the First documentary was shown at the Missouri theatre for donors and students Friday. The film... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:32:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from the last week of the high school football season. Final scores will be in... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:27:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Nigerian citizen living in St. Louis has been sentenced to six and a half years... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:01:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - #MeToo started as a tweet and turned into an international discussion on sexual harassment. Columbia resident Macy... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 5:52:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia is attracting attention for its innovation in collegiate eSports. From having the first varsity collegiate all-woman eSports... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 3:45:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
MEXICO – A former teacher pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of sexual contact with a student. Robert Cortez,... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 3:04:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
ASHLAND - Namaste Health Care alerted 1,600 patients to a security breach that happened the weekend of Aug. 12-13. A... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:44:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin announced that October 20 th would be recognized every year as Buckle... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:42:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, city officials... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:10:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Volunteers from the city and community spent the day picking up litter, clearing branches and cleaning sidewalks in... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 1:55:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 53°
6pm 54°
7pm 53°
8pm 55°
9pm 54°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
6:00p
Football Night in America
7:20p
Sunday Night Football
5:30p
The Goldbergs
6:00p
Saving Hope
7:00p
Twisted

Tonight's Schedule

6:00p
Football Night in America
7:20p
Sunday Night Football
7:00p
Twisted
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Family Guy