Daycare Leaves Child Behind on Field Trip

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)-- A St. Louis daycare left a kid behind on a field trip. But State regulators can`t do much about it. As Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes explains, the daycare is exempt from child care licensing because it is a church.

July 17th.  It was the four-year-old's first day at a new daycare.  When Duane McCann arrived to pick her up, he learned the daycare left his daughter behind at a field trip.  His daughter was ok at the time, but the worker also told him the incident happened 6 & 1/2 hours earlier.  Duane McCann Jr. said, "Oh man, my heart dropped man, because you're thinking the worst.  And then they go on about being left at a park, so you know all kinds of ideas are running through your head."

She was left at North County's Musick Park.  All the other kids returned to the daycare.  Another kid reportedly said "where is she?"  The worker then turned the van around to find the 4 year old.  She was OK, after spending about 5-10 minutes alone.  It may have seemed an eternity to McCann`s daughter.  McCann added, "Kids getting snatched every day, numerous things could happen. This is a 4 year old we`re talking about.  It`s not like we lost a set of keys or lost your debit card or something. You`re handling somebody`s child and you just left them at the park."

The Pastor for Spirit and Truth Church, which runs the daycare, told me he was appalled by the accident. He said he immediately fired the daycare worker and he added he's not had an incident in 18 years of operation.

McCann continues to think about what could have happened.  He said, "It`s just a blessing that nothing happened to her, but I want to get the word out to other parents that it might not be a happy ending for the next child, because anything could have happened.  Anything."

The State of Missouri sent a letter to the daycare on August 20th, 2012 (the day Fox2's news report first ran on this topic).  The letter notifies Spirit and Truth of "non-compliance" issues such as failing to do a head count and for having 39 kids on two 15 passenger vans.  The State notes that's ten more kids than the vans are designed to carry.  However, since churches are exempt from licensing, the State can only write a letter.  It cannot take any action since church daycares don`t have a license to revoke.

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