Daycare dilemma: Finding the best options

Daycare dilemma: Finding the best options

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - When parents, grandparents or guardians drop their children off at daycare they leave hoping, often praying that everything will be fine.

But, mistakes happen.

Sometimes, though, you might be able to take matters into your own hands.

It's all about doing your homework as a parent, arming yourself with the information you need to make the best decision for your family.

You ask all the right questions, and you think you have made the right daycare call.

However, nothing is ever for certain.

Last October a 6-year-old child overdosed on medicine that wasn't his while at Little Hoppers daycare in Cape Girardeau.

The facility's owner and director sat down with Heartland News to explain what happened.

"We had five new students start the same morning that were all siblings," said She-na Whitaker-former director of Little Hoppers.

One sibling was supposed to receive ADHD medication that day.

He did not, his brother got it instead.

According to the records, we received from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the child received two different prescriptions that weren't his.

The records further showed, he couldn't keep his eyes open throughout the day, kept falling asleep outside, inside, and when he got home.

The child was hospitalized overnight.

"I was horrified," said She-na Whitaker who had administered the medication. "I automatically called the parents, was in touch with them making sure the child was okay."

In this case, the child did make a full recovery.

The state, however, immediately suspended the facility's license then revoked it.

"When there are serious situations where we feel children may be in danger or there may be something going on where they could be harmed then we would take a step," said Ryan Hobart-spokesman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Little Hoppers could have appealed the state's decision to close it down, but the owner did not.

"I had already planned to announce to parents and staff that we'd be closing after Thanksgiving, so beginning of January we'd be closed," said Jessica Lawson-Owner of Little Hoppers.

That was surprising to Amanda Roberts who started working at Little Hoppers at the beginning of October, just a few weeks before the overdose incident.

"I show up that morning, the sign was completely blocked out and the place was dark, the parking lot was empty," said Amanda Roberts.

She didn't realize the business had closed.

"I never got paid for any of the time I was there," said Roberts.

Even though it wouldn't have been much, Roberts doesn't expect to receive a check at this point.

A quick trip to the Cape Girardeau County Collector's Office and we learned Little Hoppers has more than $80,000 in federal tax liens against it.

It won't cost you anything, but a little bit of your time to see if your child's daycare is in good financial shape.

You wouldn't want them to close suddenly because the business is going broke, or in distress.

It also won't cost you anything to check out the complaints and inspection history.

"These are all public record, public files that people can look at because we want people to feel like they have all the information at their disposal," said Ryan Hobart.

Heartland News asked for the public file on Little Hoppers.

Any parent could have looked at the information before enrolling their child there.

We were given several pages of information dating back to 2008.

That information contained inspection reports and any complaints that were made.

The complaints for that daycare varied from workers abusing children, to the daycare being censured after a 3-year-old was found walking around outside alone, to a lack of cleanliness, and problems with roaches.

It's all about doing your homework while keeping in mind that mistakes can happen.

"No matter who is watching your child, it's just something that can happen," said Jessica Lawson.

If you are looking at a daycare right now, or you already have one,  it's a simple online search.

Here's a tip, you may not get as detailed of a search on the web, so if you want to see the entire public file you can visit your closest state office and make a request for them to pull the file for you.

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