Childrearing

Everyone Responsible for Letting This Daycare Close for the Night with a Baby Locked Inside Needs to Find a Different Line of Work

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large living room of a nurseryContrary to what some politicians would have us believe, childcare is a very difficult line of work. Not everybody is cut out for a job protecting, caring for, and educating tiny, helpless human beings, and where minor screw-ups can turn into life and death emergencies. Among the people not cut out for that line of work appear to be the staff at a Chicago daycare that shut the facility for the night, locked the doors, and went home while a baby was trapped inside alone.

According to Fox 32 Chicago, Cornelius Jones went to pick up his one-year-old daughter, Journee, from the All Things Are Possible for Kids daycare in Chicago on Monday, but when he arrived the doors were locked and the lights were out.

“I was ringing the bell and no one came to the door, so I called the number and no one answered the phone, so I called again like two more times,” Jones said, “I kicked the door like two times, then I heard my baby screaming in the background.”

When he heard the baby crying, Jones called 911 and Journee’s mother, who came running over as quickly as she could.

The fire department broke the doors of the daycare open, and Journee was retrieved safe and sound. Luckily, she came to no harm while inside all alone, because when the adults broke in they reportedly found Journee crawling around by herself in the back room of the daycare.

Journee’s parents are understandably livid about the mistake, and police say that this is not the first time this has happened at this particular daycare.

“I was glad that she was OK, but I was like real mad, I was mad because how could you leave a baby in a daycare, how could a child go unaccounted for?” Jones said.

Children should absolutely not be going unaccounted for at any daycare. The daycare employees are specifically charged with, among other things, knowing how many children are in their care at any given point.

Daycare director Tommie Butler reportedly said that she left about 15 minutes before Jones arrived, but that she does not know who the last person in the building was.

“[Butler] said the lady that was in charge of Journee put her to sleep, and once everybody got ready to leave, she told [Butler] that everybody was gone,” Journee’s mother said. “But my thing is, I come here and I sign her in and out, and so why wasn’t the list checked before everybody left?”

Butler reportedly told Journee’s mother that staff mistook the baby for a doll. That does not actually make the situation any better. Did someone say, “There are normally x number of children in this daycare. X-1 children have gone home, so if I solve for x I can assume that all the children have gone home and I am looking at a very large, child-sized doll that I’ve never seen before.”

I am generally very forgiving of mistakes when everyone is safe at the end, but there’s no excuse for a daycare not counting the children in its care, especially since Journee’s mother says the daycare keeps very detailed records of which children have been signed in and signed out. If this has happened multiple times at one daycare, everyone involved should be considering a new line of work that does not involve keeping track of children.

(Photo:  ChiccoDodiFC/iStockPhoto/Getty Images)