YMCA child care center remains closed after employee drug use

Posted at 5:52 PM, Apr 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-11 19:52:48-04

MISSOULA – The YMCA Learning Center will be closed for the rest of the week due to an employee’s possible possession and use of methamphetamine on the premises.

A tip from a fellow employee led to the arrest of Sienna Heinz, 30, but before that, there were not a lot of warning signs for her longtime employer.

“You know we are thinking there was about a three week period of time we heard from the Missoula Police Department that the employee did admit that it was about three weeks which might match up with a little bit of behavior but to be honest, there weren’t a whole lot of signs to be concerned," Learning Center interim director Heather Foster said.

Missoula Police searched the grounds with K9 units on Tuesday and found no drugs but did find paraphernalia in the laundry room of the child care facility. A third party abatement team conducted a search Tuesday night after police and those results are still pending.

“We will have to wait until we hear back from the testing agency once we have that information we will really know how to proceed," Foster said.  “Cleaning that space thoroughly and having an outside provider come in and clean the facility is something that we will do no matter what,” commented Foster.

The Learning Center will also need a new staff member and filling that position poses another problem for the YMCA.

"I think it’s one of our biggest struggles," said Foster. "It is in general an industry that doesn’t pay very well.  Child care is a really tough business, it’s a hard job and it’s challenging to find high-quality employees," Foster said,  "Once we find them it’s even harder to retain them.  I think because the pay is so off and it’s a hard job taking care of kids all day long."

So what are families doing with their children in the meantime?

"I think the good thing is the teachers are here.  The Y’s a pretty fun place to be, hopefully, we can keep the kids entertained and play some spots things like that.  Try to help them feel as comfortable as possible," Foster said.