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Pinellas County: Another child left unattended at Largo KinderCare | News

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Pinellas County: Another child left unattended at Largo KinderCare

Largo, Florida -- It's happened again.

In Largo, county officials say a child was left unattended at the KinderCare daycare center along Bay Avenue.

It's the second high-profile incident at the same facility in just over a year.

"My son's been to two or three different day cares and I've never seen problems like this," said Jessica Feist, mother of a 5-year-old at the daycare.

Parents, some who came to the staff's defense, were still shocked to hear about a second incident in the past year of a child being left unattended.

Pinellas County investigators were informed on Tuesday that a custodial worker had found a 2-year-old girl sitting alone inside a classroom. She'd been unattended and unsupervised for several minutes, after her group came back into the building following time on the playground.

When they did, apparently no one noticed she'd wandered off.

"Should something bad happen, you can't say, 'Well, I had just turned my head for a minute' or whatever, no," said Pinellas County Health Dept. Spokesperson Maggie Hall, "That child has to be supervised."

County regulations require supervision at all times. Period.

The incident, classified as a level two offense, comes with fines. The facility also is being slapped with a level three violation for being unable to provide paperwork proving they had informed the child's family of the incident.

It is not considered as serious as the level one incident at the same location last May.

See also:
KinderCare on probation after leaving baby behind

That's when a 2-year-old boy was left alone inside the daycare for nearly half an hour. His father, running late, showed up to find the place closed and doors locked. Workers had left for the night, failing to see the child still sleeping in a room.

Workers returned to unlock the door and the child was not hurt. But KinderCare was issued two level-one violations and was placed on probation.

On Thursday 10 News asked workers at the daycare center if things were in place that needed to be as a result of this incident.

A woman at the door would not comment, only saying " I need to tend to the children."

County officials say this latest incident occurred just after the probation period from the previous incident expired. Had it occurred during that time frame, the repercussions, they say, might have been very different.

"I think you'd be looking at... we'd probably be handling it differently," said Hall.

Parents at the daycare, informed of yet another incident, had mixed reactions.

Some came to KinderCare's defense.

"I always I see the teacher. She counts the kids when they go into the playground and when they leaving," said Doaa Qusini, mother of a 4-year-old girl.

But others were beyond disappointed.

"Because I don't neglect my own children, so when I pay for someone to watch them I don't expect to just let them wander around – take their eyes off of them," said Jessica Feist, mother of a 5-year-old boy at the daycare.

The Pinellas County Health Department, which oversees licensing at daycare facilities, says KinderCare faces fines and must come up with a plan to see this doesn't happen again.

They also encourage parents to make up their own minds about facilities based upon open records, which are available upon request.

To ask for an appointment to view records in Pinellas County, call (727) 507-4857.

Click here to search the records of any daycare in Florida.


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