Child psychologist discusses Co. Springs daycare case

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- An investigation continues after several parents learned their toddlers were staying at a Colorado Springs daycare where police found 26 kids behind a fake wall in a basement.

The Problem Solvers took questions and concerns to experts and agencies that regulate daycares in our region. According to an inspection report from Colorado's Department of Human Services, the toddlers who were housed at Play Mountain Place Daycare appeared to be lacking a diaper change, nap, or a sufficient meal.

“It’s very, very detrimental what happened to these children," Child Psychologist Dr. Sheryl Zeigler said. “Zero to three is the most critical developmental time. When a trauma or repeated trauma occurs and the child can’t speak yet, what will happen is sensory triggers for them.”

A woman who FOX31 is identifying as "Kate" says she came to pick up her 1-year-old daughter when she says she saw a scene that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

"This was not a play area. This was a dungeon," Kate said. "It had probably 10-15 metal cribs lined almost like you'd see in movies, an orphanage...not in the United States with trash everywhere."

Zeigler says some of the sensory details - like the smell of smoke Kate says she experienced could end up triggering certain behaviors down the road.

"They may startle, the may get clingy, they may cry," Dr. Ziegler said.

Ziegler even says things like insufficient diaper changes could impact potty training. Dr. Ziegler suggests using immediate corrective experiences to turn any troublesome behaviors around.

“Being held gently, making sure diaper changes are soothing," Ziegler said. "Making sure everything is more comfortable than the average situation."

The daycare's owner, Carla Faith obtained a Colorado Family Child Care Home license back in 2005 even though a facility she was in charge of in the 90's in California was closed for repeated violations that included housing too many children. In one instance 44 kids were found with 3 adults.

“The department has no requirement or ability to access other states’ child abuse and neglect records or licensing history,” DHS’ Madlynn Ruble said. In 2016 and 2017, DHS cited faith with a total of 4 violations including problems with staff to child ratio's and a lack of supervision.

DHS says Faith’s Colorado criminal background check and federal background check indicated no criminal charges.

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Faith and three employees are currently under investigation.

 

 

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