A home daycare business in Stamford, Connecticut has been shuttered amidst a homicide investigation. A two-month-old baby girl was recently rushed to the hospital from the daycare after experiencing blunt force trauma to the head. She died at the hospital and police ruled the death a homicide. Authorities are now investigating three "persons of interest" who were in the house at the daycare when the young infant suffered her fatal injury.
The home-operated daycare had a history of safety violations including missing background checks for residents. According to a report from the Stamford Advocate, the daycare had been operating since April 2015, when the owner of the home was issued an active "family child care license." With that kind of license, a homeowner may care for six children at a time as long as those children are 12 years old or under.
To keep their licenses, home daycares—like regular daycare centers—have to go through semi-regular inspections. Little Bears Beginnings Daycare, the name of the home daycare business currently under investigation, received at least two inspections within the past year. The first occurred in December and a second inspection happened in May. The latter inspection was a follow-up for the December visit in which inspectors identified numerous safety hazards both in the house and in the backyard.
Those hazards spanned several different categories. In the house, there were uncovered electrical outlets and a curling iron left plugged into an outlet in a room where a child was sleeping. Outside, there was a woodpile with nails protruding from the wood. There were also gas grills with propane tanks left out in the open for kids to investigate.
Other problems concerned the people and animals living in the house. Since the daycare had received its license in April 2015, a new person had become a permanent resident at the house. Per state laws, home daycares are only allowed to operate if every person living in the home has passed criminal background checks and various medical assessments. The new resident did not go through those processes until recently. The daycare was also the home to a pet dog that did not have an up-to-date rabies shot on file.
Little Bears Beginnings Daycare was cited for all of these issues and was instructed to draft a "corrective action plan" to create a safer environment for children. The daycare missed the first deadline on this required action plan and needed "at least two extensions" to fix the issues, according to the Stamford Advocate. When the corrective action plan was finally put in place in May, inspectors found that most of the problems had been rectified but that there were still gas grills left accessible in the backyard. It wasn't until almost June that the owner of Little Bears Beginnings Daycare received a clean inspection.
Now, the daycare is facing new problems. The parents of the two-month-old victim in this new homicide case say that their daughter was in good health when they dropped her off on the morning of Tuesday, July 12th. Police investigators will attempt to determine what happened at the daycare and whether the girl was killed as a result of negligence or something more nefarious. Could there have been a safety hazard that state inspectors missed? Should the daycare have been shuttered at an earlier date instead of being granted two extensions to come up with a corrective action plan? The police aim to shed some light on these questions.