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Home-based-childcare center allowed to operate, after drugs and booze were given kids

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  • Home-based-childcare center allowed to operate, after drugs and booze were given kids

    Just plain, WOW.

    http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/new...2?OpenDocument



    Child-care center kept license despite drug case
    By Nancy Cambria
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/02/2008

    BELLEFONTAINE NEIGHBORS — The home-based child-care center where a 4-year-old was reported missing Tuesday continued to operate with a license despite a 2003 state investigation that concluded foster care children had been given alcohol and narcotics there, the Bellefontaine Neighbors police chief said.

    Neecy's Nest Child Care Center at 1200 Ashford Drive stayed open, critics say, largely because two state departments failed to communicate with each other about dangers at the center.

    Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Chief Robert Pruett said Friday that his office actively worked with the state child protective services as early as May 2003. He said police were responding to hot line calls about the welfare of children, concerns that continued as late as last summer.

    Two of those complaints led to the arrest and conviction of Andy Barnes, 51, on charges of child endangerment for providing the drugs. Court records show Barnes has done jail time on numerous convictions, including domestic assault and kidnapping. Advertisement
    And yet, that information didn't find its way to the state agency responsible for licensing child-care centers and closing those deemed dangerous.

    In Missouri, those duties fall the Department of Health and Senior Services.

    Meanwhile, hot line calls, such as the one made against Barnes, are investigated by the Department of Social Services child protective services.

    Celesta Hartgraves, of the Department of Social Services' children's division, declined to discuss any details related to the hot line calls. Hartgraves did say the home no longer provided temporary care for foster children.

    Were a complaint made directly against a child-care center, she said, the agency would routinely notify child-care licensing.

    "If it wasn't a report on her day care, it might not have come to the state's attention that she was a day-care provider," Hartgraves said.

    But Andi Schleicher, head of the Child Day Care Association, criticizes what she views as a breakdown of communication.

    "There's absolutely no excuse for the Division of Social Services not to tell licensing," she said.

    It wasn't until Thursday that the state Department of Health and Senior Services revoked the operating license of the center's owner, Denise Herd. That action came after police alleged that Namon Taylor, Herd's estranged husband, took a boy with the child-care center's consent in a car and did not return with him until 9 p.m. Police say Taylor, 33, who has multiple felony convictions, told them he took the boy to a crack house in St. Louis.

    State licensing officials say they had received no prior complaints about the center.

    Child-care advocates accused Bellefontaine Neighbors police on Thursday of failing to notify licensing officials about numerous police visits to the house since January 2007 involving Taylor and Herd.

    But Pruett said Friday that his department had unfairly come under fire, and worked closely with the Department of Social Services. Members of his department were "thoroughly frustrated" that the owner of the center continued to operate as a business and that the St. Louis County prosecutor did not charge her in 2003, he said.

    Pruett said he assumed that communication with child protective services about the day care situation would have triggered the pulling of the license.

    Schleicher said her own agency, a state referral network for parents seeking child care, also suffered: Until Thursday her staff had been referring parents to Neecy's Nest because officials had never given her agency a heads-up.

    Police continue to gather evidence with hopes of bringing a case to St. Louis circuit attorney's office, Pruett said.

    Matthew Fernandes of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

    [email protected]

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    Make America Great For Once.

  • #2
    (I ask your indulgence--I am still weighed down with my impressions from yesterday, attending what would be, to any sane person, a hopelessy boring forum on education---hosted by the discredited, powerless, slps elected board----I had a very emotional reaction to seeing how much passion the overflow crowd had on a Saturday afternoon for finding solutions for their children---the speakers were inspiring, but I am not sure any of them said anything which will be paid attention to by the people who now hold the real power----)


    Meanwhile, hot line calls, such as the one made against Barnes, are investigated by the Department of Social Services child protective services.

    Celesta Hartgraves, of the Department of Social Services' children's division, declined to discuss any details related to the hot line calls.
    that sort of flashed me back to August of 2006:

    Early this morning, Timothy Bacon was shot and killed while he was on his way for cigarettes. According to a story by Bill Bryan on STLToday.com, he was shot by three men -- one of whom came back to the body to fire several more shots.

    Bacon, 21, was the young man who, according to the Missouri Division of Family Services, was badly beaten by then-Vashon basketball coach Floyd Irons in 2000 and whose case was recently brought up by the St. Louis School Board President, who called for a federal investigation into the matter.
    O'Brien claimed to fear for her safety after threats she said she received from Irons supporters. After a young man who had threatened legal action against Irons for an alleged beating by the former coach in 2000 was murdered Friday (police have no suspects and have not said Irons was in any way involved)


    case is still open.

    So we have Department of Social Services child protective services. and Missouri Division of Family Services.

    I am not sure what the differences are, but they both seem adept at guarding their turf---never mind the kids. I forget who the woman was who decided that the Irons case from 2000 needed not be shared with anyone, but I am sure no one lost their job over it. That is the important thing.







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