Security measures put to test at area daycares - WKRN News 2

Security measures put to test at area daycares

Posted: Updated: Sep 24, 2013 11:13 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

For many working families, paying for a daycare facility to watch their children is crucial.

News 2 recently decided to put 10 area facilities to the test when it comes to protecting your children from harm's way and how workers handle the situation if an unauthorized adult tries to remove a child from the daycare.

At each of the daycares, News 2 had permission from the parent to attempt to pick up their child unauthorized.

At the first daycare, an unauthorized adult walked into the facility lobby and told an employee he was picking a child for a mother who is unable to make it in.

The worker immediately unlocked the door and allowed the unauthorized adult into a recreation room filled with children and toddlers who were singing songs and playing games.

At the last minute, as the worker was en route to get the child, the employee looked to verify if the adult was on the child's approved pick up list.  As the worker searched her files, our unauthorized adult was left unattended in a room full of children and a few distracted caretakers.

In the end, he ultimately walked away without the child he was trying to pick up.

Natalie Dunham, who also played the role of an unauthorized adult, attempted to remove a baby from a Nashville facility.

"I told them I was here to pick up a child for my neighbor," she said.

Dunham told News 2 as she entered the facility, daycare employees asked for her ID and quickly discovered she wasn't on the approved pick-up list.

SHe was sent on her way empty handed.

In a separate experience at another daycare center, family members were relieved when News 2's unauthorized adult did not gain access to their loved one.

"I was freaking out. I kept looking back. I swear, if I would have saw him, I think I would have lost it. If I would have seen him come out with you guys, I would have lost it," said Princess Ferrand who was picking up a young family member.

At two other daycares, one in Nashville and the other in Brentwood, managers kicked News 2 off the property after spotting what they said looked like a suspicious car in the parking lot.

In five out of the ten daycares tested, including facilities in Hermitage, Donelson and Nashville, it was a different outcome.

Employees allowed the unauthorized adult past the security lobby and didn't initially ID them until they were in direct proximity to children.

News 2 visited the Tennessee Department of Human Services following the outcome since their workers handle licensing for daycare facilities.

Workers say at this point, they can't make a determination whether those five daycares made policy violations.

"The expectation is that a facility will release a child to an authorized adult, a parent or someone authorized by a parent, and that the steps will adhere to the policy of the provider, and steps to check the identity of that person will be followed," said Christopher Garrett with DHS.

Officials added it is up to the individual daycare to create drop-off and pick-up policies, and to make sure their employees follow them.

Owner of Kinderland Daycare, Darlene Olds, says it is not uncommon for unauthorized people to attempt to gain entry into her facility.

"That happens quite frequently, so we do turn them away, weekly, just through the intercom system without even allowing them to gain entry," said Olds.

Ultimately, 10 out of 10 times News 2's unauthorized adults walked out of the daycare without a child.  However, half of the time, they made it too close for comfort.

For additional information on daycare ratings and history, click here.

Anyone with concerns or complaints regarding child care providers can call the Child Care Complaint Hotline at 1-800-462-8261.

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