Posted: Jan 8, 2013 7:10 PM by Erin Schermele - MTN News
Updated: Jan 9, 2013 9:50 AM
GREAT FALLS - Chickadee Childcare in Great Falls is under scrutiny after one of its employees, Jordan Stone, was charged with breaking the leg of a 2-year-old child at the facility on Monday.
This isn't the first time it has been investigated, as several complaints have been filed and licensing violations have been detected by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
Since Stone's arrest, parents and a former employee have shared their personal frustrations with the daycare facility, located at 1309 4th Avenue North.
Ketrina Hayes started working for Chickadee Childcare in September of 2011, and it didn't take long for her to start questioning the intention of the owners.
"They don't keep an eye on them when they are outside. They have a privacy fence, but in the back alley they have a chain link fence and I am sure you could drive by anytime and see there is a chain link and 10 kids outside with no supervision," Hayes said.
After mentioning her concerns to the owner, Christian Stone, and seeing no change, Hayes decided to take things into her own hands. She started documenting instances of what she perceived to be neglect, and eventually submitted her concerns to DPHHS.
"Christian had always told me if the state walked in here and seen me and Jordan with this many kids that we would just get a slap on the wrist, and pretty much that's all they got," Hayes noted.
The investigation resulted in a letter sent by the state to parents who had children at the daycare.
Erin Warrenburg took her children to Chickadee Childcare for several months before she noticed problems.
"They had a huge fenced yard, large play area, a nice house...I was very comforted at first."
But after her oldest son started coming home with bruises and bite marks she started to get concerned, and after complaints to the owner went unanswered, Warrenburg went to several state agencies, including DPHHS for help.
"It makes me sick to my stomach...I hate to say I knew it was going to happen...but...," Hayes said.
DPHHS says Chickadee Childcare will be under investigation involving their licensing, but whether or not there will be an investigation regarding Child Protective Services is not public information.
We had several comments from parents expressing similar experiences with the daycare. Chickadee Childcare declined to comment until they speak with a lawyer.