Billings mother speaks out after baby left at daycare - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Billings mother speaks out after baby left at daycare

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

A 6-month old child was left at a daycare center in Billings Friday. The lights were off, the door was locked, and there was no supervision inside. It was a terrifying situation that left the baby's mother confused.

The Kids "R" Us Childcare Center in the Billings Heights is under fire after a 6-month old baby was left in the building after the business had closed for the day.

And as any mother would, Tanaya Merchen wanted answers.

It started with a post to a local classifieds page on Facebook, saying a baby was left inside of Kids "R" Us Daycare alone after hours.

"I mean, at this point, I would definitely recommend nobody ever take their child there," Merchen said.

Merchen is a single mother who relies on Kids "R" Us daycare to watch her baby Avery when she is at work. However, when she went to go pick up her son Friday, that wasn't the case.

"I get out of the truck and I go to open the door, and it was locked," Merchen said. "So it was instant panic, like I had no idea what the situation was I just knew I couldn't get in there, and I knew nobody else picked my baby up, so I was very confused. I called the director lady – the one I communicate with the most. She answers and instantly she already knew. She told me, she said, 'I am so mad. I am almost there.'" 

We took a drive over to Kids "R" Us where we spoke to owner Kim Redding. She explains there was a miscommunication among staff members.

"She didn't know the staff said all the kids had gone. She said you guys go ahead and go and I'll vacuum," Redding said.

It's this kind of miscommunication the state wanted to avoid; in April of 2014, citing the facility for not having updated records.

At that time Child Care Licensing (CCL) found the provider did not have a daily attendance record that was accurate. Eighteen children were present, however only three children were signed in.

"It was a horrible mistake, and we're sorry, and we got a damage control method just to double check all of the staff to check out the sign out sheets just to be careful, and it was a horrible mistake. I'm not downplaying it, it was a bad mistake," Redding said.

In 2014, CCL also found that 18 children, including four infants, were in the care of one unapproved caregiver.

In June of 2017, eight children were found in the care of one caregiver. According to CCL, there should always be at least two caregivers caring for the children at all times when there are more than six children present. 

The state documents that CCL approved correction plans following those incidents and others.

As for the latest incident, Redding says, "We can't change that mistake. The only thing we can do is put in forward more extra caution."

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Service files that we referenced can be found below.

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