Have you ever really thought of the safety of the children in childcare centers?"I placed the most precious thing I had in the world in your hands and you people did not take your job seriously."
These were the words of distraught parent, Catrine Teddi from the novel The Perfect Solution. In this fast paced and informative thriller a three year old is stalked and mistakenly given to the stalker by his preschool teacher. The abduction occurs at The Perfect Solution Childcare Center. Through a series of mistakes that occur in the overcrowded confusion of his classroom, three year old, Brhin-Kristoffer Teddi is forced to leave the center with a woman he does not know.
This is a short synopsis of a book I wrote. In this book I weaved fact and fiction to show a lot of things I had encountered in my over twenty years of working in the public arena. after yesterday I see I can't go back, nothing has changed. When I first wrote the book I did a survey with five or six public centers and three home-based centers asking questions about surveillance, security, staff issues...as a matter of fact this particular center took part in that survey. Some of their requests came for their staff came from that book. A couple of the centers used the survey to give their workers the required training hours.
At one time I had pondered the thought of marketing myself out as a 'secret shopper'. Reviewing daycares for potential clients...hmmm. I guess in away that is what I was yesterday. I would have recommended it for my clients if it had passed. I would not put a child there let alone work there. Here are the major reasons:
- The gate was left open and the daycare faces Calder very near the corner of Major. On the gate was a sign asking for gate to stay closed. On the outside of the door was a sign asking staff to be aware of their surroundings.
- The lights were off. It's okay in the rooms at nap time, but the hallway?It gives the illusion of being closed, not welcoming.
- No one was around and when, after five minutes of walking through three or four rooms, seeing the office was empty, I did see someone, gave a little wave and she ignored me I felt the urge to leave. She didn't know what my intentions were. Too dangerous. No one knew who was in the building. I have cameras showing who is outside and in the center. Monitors are in the living room and kitchen.
- The infant room was sooo quiet. A baby sat in a swing leaning way over trying to grab its toes and another just lay in the bed. No soft music, just quiet and the worker was sitting in a chair. No interaction or stimulation going on there.
- There was no organization between staff and whomever ran the office.
- Potential clients were left to stand in the hallway for extended periods with no interaction from anyone.
- I won't even discuss the chaos and lack of supervision in the after-school building. I shudder.