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

11 months 3 weeks 4 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) — The white former interim police chief of St. Louis is alleging discrimination based on race in... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 8:20:28 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Japanese beetles are swarming mid-Missouri in the tens of thousands, wreaking havoc on gardens, crops and trees. ... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 8:18:00 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump will visit Missouri next week to deliver his first address as president to the annual... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 8:13:07 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - On Wednesday, Governor Parson issued an executive order putting nearly half of the counties in Missouri under... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 8:12:00 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri state representative has unblocked a critic from her Twitter account after he sued. ... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 8:10:32 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City-area woman has been charged with letting men rape her 2-year-old daughter. Twenty-five-year-old... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 5:12:46 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
HARRISBURG - A town rocked by tragedy continues to heal after the man responsible for the car crash that killed... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 4:57:00 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
MILLER COUNTY - Deputies arrested a man following an investigation into alleged sexual abuse, and charges were filed in the... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 4:05:32 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Different sides reacted Wednesday to the Missouri Supreme Court's ruling in favor of a wind energy project.... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 3:37:00 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Democratic Party filed an appeal to the ruling from a Cole County judge dismissing a... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 1:59:00 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
FULTON - In the span of one month, law enforcement responded to nine car crashes on Route F between Boone... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 1:40:00 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The man who caused the crash which left a Harrisburg teacher dead pleaded guilty Wednesday. Brandon Brill,... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 12:34:00 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA (AP) — Wet and muddy from their trek across the Mexican border, immigrant children say they sat... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 10:50:00 AM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The 12 members of a youth soccer team and their coach who spent more than two weeks trapped... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 8:24:00 AM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri program aimed at connecting stroke, heart attack and trauma patients with the best care... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 8:17:00 AM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The owner of the Mandalay Bay hotel says it bears no liability in last year's Las Vegas concert... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 6:32:00 AM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A 61-year-old southwest Missouri woman has been sentenced to life in prison for an ambush-style shooting of... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 6:08:59 AM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - An arrest for suspicion of filing a false report has been made in connection to a reported robbery... More >>
4 days ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 11:44:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 69°
12am 71°
1am 71°
2am 70°
3am 68°