Aurora Day Care Where Toddler Died Had No License
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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.
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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.