Aurora Day Care Where Toddler Died Had No License

Updated 08/03/11 – 5:08 p.m.

AURORA, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — An autopsy was planned for Wednesday afternoon for 2-year-old Abigail Holland, whose body was found floating in an above-ground pool Tuesday at an in-home day care operation in Aurora.

Criminal charges were pending against the day care provider, pending the results of the autopsy.

And now the state has confirmed that the home at 2735 Squaw Valley Trail did not have a license to operate as a day care facility.

State law requires that anyone caring for more than four unrelated children get a license to operate a day care center.

But as CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, some suburban mothers said, for them, a license wasn’t the most important factor in choosing day care.

“Oh, it’s just heartbreaking, Shannon Herman said. “You know, it could happen to anyone, it doesn’t matter whether a license was involved, it’s just heartbreaking.”

The day care home where Herman sends her 2-year-old child, Rowan, and her 6-year-old, Patrick, also is unlicensed.

She said the most important thing is having confidence in the provider, whether they’re licensed or not.

The woman who runs the day care where Herman’s kids go is a mother and a grandmother, Herman said.

“She’s raised children. She is there all the time. She also has help,” Herman said.

Teacher Vicki Patrick also chose an unlicensed day care home for her 5-year-old son, Adam.

“The most important factor for me was making sure that he was in a safe and caring environment. And I was really looking for an in-home setting,” she said.

Patrick also said, whether a day care operation is licensed or not, parents must be vigilant.

“As a parent, I feel like you have to do your homework,” she said. “You have to see if the day care provider is CPR certified and takes all those precautions for the safety of your child, because they are in their hands.”

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said that, in June, it received a complaint alleging the Aurora day care operation was unlicensed.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller reports

DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe said the state confronted the day care operator and she applied for a license on June 21 – but the application is still pending and she still does not have a license.

“I don’t have enough information to know how many children she was caring for recently, but after that complaint was substantiated in June, if she was caring for four or more unrelated children, she would’ve been in violation of the law.”

Aurora Police Spokesman Dan Ferrelli said Abigail drowned in an above-ground pool – and even though there was a gate outside the pool, a pool toy had been leaning against the latch – making the latch inoperable.

Abigail apparently opened two doors leading to the backyard, entered a fenced-in deck around the above-ground pool, and drowned.

Marlowe says investigators believe it was about 20 minutes from the time the day care owner last saw Abigail – to when her body was discovered.

Police say the woman was caring for seven children – in addition to her own.

DCFS has taken custody of the Aurora day care operator’s four biological children. They’re now in the care of a relative.

DCFS also said they received a neglect allegation against the same day care operator in April, but at that time, investigators didn’t find enough evidence to prove the allegation.

  • curious

    Why would you leave your child at an UNLICENSED day care facility?

  • I know details

    Curious – The bigger questions is why would the daycare provider LIE about being licensed?

    That’s what happened to my friend who had her children in the care of this woman. She blatantly lied.

    • Stacey

      I had interviewed this provider the week before the drowning. She claimed to be licensed and said the fire marshall had just been there to check for safety. I was awaiting her license number and references, but she seemed loving. She also claimed to only be watching three children full time.

  • mary

    why was my comment deleted, it is on record she drugged a child to get her to sleep longer in April, that was the first report of abuse!!!

  • Betsy

    All kinds of comments are being deleted. Shame no one will let the truth come out.

  • Anonymous

    Yes all, CBS very intensly censors the comments to keep the discussion going in the direction they want it to, whatever it may be. My opinions have also been eliminated.

  • NSNone

    This day care person can be found on they backed her on their site. Why is no one talking about that they run background and license checks even to be allowed on the site. They have a whole section on safety!!!!! Do you know how many unlicensed providers are out there most people people pick providers based on knowing someone.

    • experienced

      Hey this isn’t about a license its about honesty integrity and character. My mother way back before license ran a home “day care”. She was always with us, we even had a pool….no one was allowed out back without her or an adult. As teens we weren’t given responsibility of watching kids unrelated nor ever in back with pool! I am over 40 I have over 18yrs experience caring and teaching early childhood ages. This is about knowing developmently the care and supervision required! Lincenced or not no one provider should care for more then 6 Kids at a given time. There were 3 points of opportunity to prevent this tragedy. 2 unlocked doors and unlocked swim gate! Also ask what was going on that this child could be missing so long before first anyone noticed and second they looked! Day care is about being WITH the children! Providing Secure safe place if you need to STEP away.

  • Moms Always Working

    If you have children, try staying home with them.

    • Eileen

      This is a pretty ignorant comment. Some mothers have to work to provide for their families. Some mothers need to work because they are the bread winners. Some mothers have to work because they want to be able to live in a home. Some mothers have to work because they carry the health insurance. This isn’t 1950 where it’s easy to live on one salary.

      • Anna

        I’ve seen awful situations where mothers who stayed at home and need to re-enter the workforce can’t. Some moms have jobs where it’s not easy to take a few years off and then re-enter. A close friend is struggling right now because of a divorce. She took ten years off to be a SAHM and now nobody will hire her.

  • don't censor the truth

    Hoping with this tragedy charges will be FINALLY brought against this woman. And not ALL parents have the luxury of staying home with their kids (to Mom Always Working). They do what they can and hope that they’ve picked the right person to care for their kids.

  • Disgusted

    Took her kids huh DCFS. too little, too late. You should have shut this woman down when she was caught drugging children. Disgusting.

  • billyd

    A whole lot of “experts” commenting here. Idiot basement-dwellers, rushing to judge a situation you know almost nothing about. Get a life.

    • experienced

      Billyd, I don’t think anyones trying to be an expert but it is apparent that several persons have witnessed and tried with diligence to bring attention and concern to authorities about this particular provider. Others simply offer views from different sides, experience and such. If society can learn to openly discuss and not be criticized for there perspective more learnone from one another can take place and we can grow as a healthy collaborative society rather then a bad mouthing self-centered society! Im tired of this” mind you business” attitude when it especially comes to the welfare of our children.

  • mamanjolie

    I think some people on here believe that they’re perfect parents, never make mistakes. or have the LUXERY of staying home. Parents who work do not love or care for their children any less then stay at home parents. Some of us have no other choice then to work so we choose someone who we feel will care for our children in the same manner we would. Hindsight maybe 20/20 but it will not bring back a dead child or comfort her grieving parents. Maybe people should think about the other children who witnessed this tragedy and the parents who’s child was taken from them far to young.

    • billyd

      Well said! It scares me for the future of our society when I read these comments.

  • Bonnie Mertes

    License or unlicensed that is not ,what took this little girl away from her parents to soon,it was the neglect of our laws allowing caregivers to have swimming pools. I personally know this little angel and what a tragedy it is for her loving parents. Even if little Abby was the only child there it’s possible it could of happen, I am going to campaign to ban all swimming pools and swimming while children are in the care of any daycare providers,not one more child should have to die like this or loving parents to endure the heartache or pain. I want a Abby law.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live