Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Heavy

A tragedy occurred yesterday much too close for comfort. My friend and co-worker came home after work to find that a two year old girl drowned in the pool at the in-home daycare next door. I'm not going to get into all the details because it's not my story to tell but I do know this: the woman was watching far too many children to keep tabs on all of them (TEN!), she wasn't licensed by the state to run a daycare, she has personal/home issues, and she's already been/being investigated by DCFS for another issue. The article in the paper said that the latch on the gate to the pool was broken and the little girl got inside and into the pool. The woman didn't notice she was gone until it was too late. I...I don't even know what to say.
I feel terribly for the family who lost their daughter in this tragedy. She was TWO. Noah was two just two weeks ago. I can't imagine losing him. I can't imagine losing him EVER, but at TWO? Forget it. It makes me shake even thinking about it. This tragedy (and I refuse to call it an accident because this woman put these children in harm's way by taking in too many kids and keeping them in an unsafe environment) brings up another issue as well: how do you know the caregiver/daycare/childcare facility you choose for your child while you work is safe? Each day I give to our preschool my child, my HEART, to protect and I pray to all the gods that he is returned every afternoon as safe as can be. There are no guarantees, this I understand. However, I hope that my gut and my maternal instinct prevail, guiding me to the right place and best decision for my son, for my family. I trust his caregivers to keep him safe and happy even though there will always be a small (read: very large, huge, giant) part of me that worries all day long.

It's stories like this that reinforce the idea behind state licensing and making sure DCFS and its ilk are doing their jobs. I don't think all in-home daycares are bad places and many, MANY, are run by skilled caregivers with the proper licensing and clean records. However, it's places like this one that make me want to scoop up my kid, run home, and never let him out of my sight. Not rational, I understand, but true.

To the family that lost their baby yesterday: I am so, so sorry. May you find peace someday and keep the memories of your little girl in your hearts always.

To the woman who runs the daycare: it's people like you who put fear in the hearts of parents. May you realize the irrevocable damage you have caused to one family and may you pay for this tragedy the rest of your life.

8 comments:

Erica said...

This is so awful. I have goosebumps all over and not the good kind. I can't even imagine - this is my worst nightmare.

The Kovarik Family said...

Just saw that on the news...you knew the neighbor?? OMG...I completely thought of you and I and our convo about at home daycares....may God always be with them.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I have mixed feelings about it. I definitely feel for the family and their loss - a horrendous loss that I cannot fathom experiencing myself. And I know I'm going to sound like an ass if I even remotely question the parents' role in their loss, but here it goes...

As parents with children in other people's care, we have to make sure they are going to be in a safe and protected environment. With a quick phone call, the parents could easily determine whether that care provider was licensed or not. Simple observation would tell them how many children were under this person's care as well as whether this person's home is a safe environment for their own child.

I absolutely agree there are consequences for this care provider that should ensure she never cares for other people's children again. But, I also feel it is our responsibility as parents to make sure our small children are in environments that do not put their health (or life) at risk. And without knowing the details of this daycare, there were clear red flags that would make me question whether that was the right environment for my child.

Sara said...

To add to what Nilsa said, yes, I did consider the role the family played in choosing this specific woman to watch their child. From my insider source, it seems most of these families were low-income and I wonder if they didn't have the option of a better facility (i.e. licensed, more expensive).

Danielle said...

I agree with Nilsa. A little too heavy for my blood to wish the person pay for the mistake the rest of their life.

Obviously the parent of this child noticed the other children present AND that there was a pool. AND either didn't check for a license or couldn't afford to care. Further, if the provider were to be licensed and this tragedy occurred, would we feel comfortable saying such hard things? If it was a mom or a friend that "allowed" the accident to occur, we would never be so quick with our words.

L said...

Very sad. Backyard pools scare me, and this is a sad reminder about getting kids swim lessons (not that a 2 yr old has a fighting chance anyway).

Jessica said...

That's terrible. I've always felt more comfortable with a center - even in the best in-home environment, it's still a home and can't be 100% childproof. I'm not saying there aren't dangers with centers, but I like that their only purpose is childcare and everything is centered around that.

bessie.viola said...

Oh my gosh... this makes me feel sick. So unbelievably awful. My heart goes out to that girl's family, both for the loss and for the judgement they'll now inevitably face for her presence there in the first place.

As someone who's sometimes second-guessed a dayhome situation... oh. I am just heartsick for them.