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  #201  
Old 03-03-2011, 05:48 PM
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New...

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=7993080

just heard this, myself.




Also....this explains alot...

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=7993629

Last edited by Cat Herder; 03-04-2011 at 03:41 AM. Reason: adding...
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  #202  
Old 03-03-2011, 07:04 PM
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I was wondering the same thing? Any kids of her own? I thought it was a bit strange that a single 22yr old would be running a home daycare without a child of her own of interest????
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  #203  
Old 03-04-2011, 04:09 AM
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I can't watch the videos on my computer?

Can someone fill me in? What is the latest?
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  #204  
Old 03-04-2011, 04:35 AM
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TO HELP FAMILIES
The families of the victims of the day care fire have provided the following information about donations:


Elias Castillo, 16 months

Fund: Comerica Bank, Account No. 7002534415; Care of "Elias Castillo Benevolent Fund"


Elizabeth Kajoh, 19 months


Fund: BBVA Compass Bank, Account No. 2528905393; Care of "Elizabeth Kajoh"

Fund: Wells Fargo Bank, Account No. 1789035951; Care of "Briarmeadow Charter School Ukera-Kajoh Memorial Fund"


Kendyll Stradford, 20 months

Fund: Wells Fargo Bank, Account No. 5335104153; Care of "Kendyll Stradford"


Shomari Leon Dickerson, 3 years

Fund: Wells Fargo Bank; Care of "Shomari Leon Dickerson" (or of his sister, Makayla Dickerson, who was badly burned in the fire.)

Farewell to 3-year-old fire victim
Funeral honors Shomari Dickerson. He's the first of the four day-care fire victims to be laid to rest. Video: Jason Witmer.

DALLAS Jessica Rene Tata was three months shy of her 22nd birthday when she sought to be registered as a home child-care provider in Texas. Her education ended at high school, and there was no indication of formal training in child care.

Even so, the west Houston woman had everything she needed under the law to receive the state's approval as well as thousands of dollars in federal subsidies.

Since a fire last month killed four children being cared for by Tata, who is now a fugitive facing charges of reckless injury to a child and child abandonment, new attention has been focused on the adequacy of child-care regulations in Texas and elsewhere.

"You have somebody with no background in child development, very limited regulation and too many children to take care of," said Susan Hoff, a senior vice president with the United Way in Dallas who serves on the board of the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health. "That's a recipe for disaster."

Prosecutors allege the fire started when Tata went grocery shopping, leaving seven toddlers and preschool-age children alone in the Houston house she was renting. Tata fled to Nigeria as authorities began their criminal investigation.

During the funeral Thursday for 3-year-old Shomari Dickerson, one of the children who died, the boy's grandfather told mourners that Tata needs to return to the United States. Glenn Price said she must take responsibility for what she is accused of doing.

As investigators reconstruct the events of Feb. 24 and Tata's travels since, more details about her have emerged through state records. That story is one of a young woman who was legally able to receive approval from Texas' Department of Family and Protective Services to serve as the sole caregiver for as many as 12 children a day, including some under preschool age, despite no known specialized training.

Tata, operating as "Jackie's Child Care," was approved by the state last March 1 after she provided paperwork showing she was at least 21, had a high school diploma, was certified in CPR and first aid and didn't have a criminal record.

She also signed an affidavit stating that she'd never been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, a felony as an adult or juvenile. The document was submitted without the signature of a notary, even though one was required.

The Houston Chronicle reported Thursday that it obtained documents showing Tata had received three years' probation as a juvenile for setting a fire at a high school in Katy. She was 14 at the time, the newspaper said.

Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, said the agency's criminal background checks of Tata didn't show any arson convictions or "dispositions" of any kind. One check was done at the time she applied, and two others have been done since the fire, he said.

A month after being approved to operate her day care, Tata began receiving federal grant money on behalf of the families of low-income children. Five of the children in her care were eligible for that assistance. At the time she fled the country, the total in government money paid to her was $5,773, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, which distributes the funds.

Some in the child-care industry say Tata's lack of experience shouldn't be viewed as a sign of a wider problem with Texas' regulations.

"This is a good example of when one particular individual makes a mistake, we all pay the price for it," said Tym Smith, president of the Texas Licensed Child Care Association, an industry group. "Most follow the rules to a 'T.'"

But for child-care advocates and others, the case speaks to a serious gap in oversight - one made particularly glaring because public money is involved.

According to the Department of Family and Protective Services, more than 6,500 registered child-care homes with the capacity to handle nearly 76,000 children were operating in Texas last year. Registered homes, where single caregivers work in their own residences, aren't held to the same standards as licensed child-care homes and centers, whose operators must complete some level of training prior to approval.

The distinction is important, experts say, because the low end of child care is often all that poorer families can afford.

"If you want more skilled (child-care workers), then you're going to have to pay more money," said Heather Boushey, an economist who specializes in family issues for the nonprofit Center for American Progress in Washington. "And if you have to pay more, then you'll have to subsidize it more. That's the problem."

Texas is one of 11 states that do not require pre-service training for low-level child-care operators, according to data compiled by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.

Linda Smith, the nonprofit's executive director, said her group believes all child-care operators should be required to receive a minimum of 40 hours of training before going into business.

"I know you can't regulate the insanity of a woman leaving the kids to go the store," she said. "But, in some ways, screening and oversight would prevent so much of this."

The Texas state senator in whose district the fire occurred, Joan Huffman, read the names and ages of the four children at the conclusion of Wednesday's session. She told her fellow senators that the tragedy should be a reminder to be "ever vigilant" in ensuring the safety of the state's children.

To date, however, only one bill under consideration deals with training for child-care providers. The bill, introduced before the fire by Sen. Royce West of Dallas, would increase the training hours for employees of day-care centers from eight to 16.

West's bill has industry support, but child-care advocates believe it doesn't go far enough - something they say the Houston tragedy has reinforced.

"Unfortunately, it takes the loss of a child to make people see what should be done," said Melanie Rubin, a consultant for a child-care advocacy group in Dallas.
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  #205  
Old 03-04-2011, 05:18 AM
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Wow, thanks for posting that!

Here in NY you need 3 years of experience in childcare. Thats great, except they consider being a mother as experience. Which I do not agree with at all. For good people like most of us yes that experience matters but just look at so many of our dc parents that don't have common sence. It is a scary thought to think some of my parents could legally watch other children and the possible damage that can do.
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  #206  
Old 03-04-2011, 05:30 AM
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you know what I don't understand, why is her daycare named jackie. Also, I blame the people who gave her a liscence, funny how you all found out that she set fire at her highschool but the agency didn't know that. Also, this women had too many red flags. Like how did she afford her huge house, she had no children of her own, she didn't have a husband (I know it doesn't apply but it could be used to credit her) she had no other education but highschool, and she was only 22 and never worked in a childcare setting. Also, there should have been more state visits especially considering that she was getting money from the state.
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  #207  
Old 03-04-2011, 09:07 AM
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I was wondering the exact same thing, why it's called "Jackie's Daycare" when her name is Jessica? Seems very very strange.
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  #208  
Old 03-04-2011, 09:10 AM
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I was wondering the exact same thing, why it's called "Jackie's Daycare" when her name is Jessica? Seems very very strange.
Another one who's been wondering that exact thing since, well, since this whole thing started.
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  #209  
Old 03-04-2011, 12:59 PM
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Weird, because I remember the name being said, and then her name, and it never even clicked to me that they were different!

But now that you've said it, it would raise a red flag to me if I was dropping off my kids. Unless she lied and pretended to the parents that someone else owned it????

Very strange.
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  #210  
Old 03-04-2011, 02:21 PM
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well my DC is not named after me, but i don't go by real legal name... I havent for almost 20 years.... It like ronaldo being called aldo or ron or ronnie,
My father in law his name is leonardo and they call him nard.....

perhaps this is why....

but yes I do also finding it interesting.... maybe she thought someone would remember her by her real name.... the girl that set the school on fire.........so she changed it??

is this what you guys are thinking??
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  #211  
Old 03-04-2011, 03:33 PM
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I thought the name thing was weird too but then I thought maybe Jackie is a nickname for Jessica?
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  #212  
Old 03-04-2011, 03:55 PM
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I have never heard Jackie being a nickname for Jessica, but maybe she did think someone would link her to the school fire....Maybe she didn't even use her real name for her daycare license and maybe a different soc, maybe that's why they can't find the fire under her name, but then I guess they would have figured that out by now.
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  #213  
Old 03-04-2011, 05:20 PM
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I thought the name thing was weird too but then I thought maybe Jackie is a nickname for Jessica?
That was my thought too.
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  #214  
Old 03-04-2011, 08:32 PM
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My heart breaks for the kid's families. this is just oh, so sad.
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  #215  
Old 03-04-2011, 09:40 PM
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i've been wondering the saaame thing about her name, but it seemed so unimportant to ask when this first started!

i bet it's her mom's name. there has been mention of her dad and her brother, but no mom. you know everyone likes to name people/places/things after dead loved ones.
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  #216  
Old 03-06-2011, 07:08 PM
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http://www.khou.com/home/Suspect-in-...117365223.html

http://www.khou.com/news/national/117447968.html
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  #217  
Old 03-10-2011, 06:45 AM
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http://www.click2houston.com/video/27114092/index.html

Parents Met Day Care Owner At Stores, Church
Jessica Tata Charged With 14 Counts After Fatal Fire

POSTED: Monday, March 7, 2011
UPDATED: 8:46 am CST March 8, 20
HOUSTON -- All of the parents who left their children at a day care the day it caught fire, killing four children, said nearly the same thing about the day care owner, Jessica Tata.

"She said I can trust her. That's the last thing she said to me before I left her," mother Kyndell Stradford said.

"I trusted her to take care of my babies. They are my life, my children," mother Tiffany Dickerson said.

Tata, 22, is an international fugitive, accused of leaving seven children alone to go to a nearby Target for 13 minutes.

Tata was the day care provider at a home in the 2800 block of Crestpark at Waypark when a fire broke out Feb. 24 shortly before 1:30 p.m. The house served as a day care facility called Jackie's Child Care. While she was away, a pan of hot oil left burning on a stove sparked the fatal fire.

Four felony manslaughter charges were filed against Tata on Friday. The Harris County District Attorney's Office said she has been charged with 14 felonies, including seven counts of reckless injury to a child and three counts of child abandonment.

The new charges are likely to help extradition proceedings if Tata is found in Nigeria, where she is believed to have fled.

Three children, Elizabeth Kojah, of Cypress, and Kendyll Stradford, of Katy, both 20 months old; and Shomari Dickerson, 3, died the day of the fire. A fourth child, Elias Castillo, died two days later.

Each parent remembers how and where they met the woman who said she would take care of their babies.

"She came up to me at Walmart. I had two jobs," mother Keisha Brown said.

Brown was looking for a flexible and loving place for her 16-month-old son, Elias Castillo. She said Tata seemed to be the perfect fit because she offered a 24-hour day care service and was open on Saturdays.

"She said she would teach sign language and taught Spanish, praise and worship. I liked that," she said.

Tata also approached Tiffany Dickerson at a Walmart, and after visiting the day care, Dickerson said she was sure her children, 3-year-old Shomari and 2-year-old Mikala, were in good hands.

Elizabeth Kojah's parents met Tata at church. They said she volunteered with the child care ministry at Braeswood Assembly of God during services.

"One of those days, I went to pick up my daughter. She said, 'I have home care. I teach Christian values to kids,'" mother Betty Kojah said.

Kojah said she even noticed a positive change in her 20-month-old daughter after attending Tata's home day care for the first few days.

"She came back praying over her food. She said Jessica taught her that. I didn't," Kojah said.

Kendyll Stradford's mother found Tata through an ad, but she said she was sold when she met her.

"My mom found the phone number on the van. When we met her, she was very sweet and open to any questions," she said.

But what the parents thought was the perfect place for their little ones turned out to be their worst nightmare.

"I have a wish that it never happened," said Elizabeth Kojah's dad.

"He was all I was living for and kept me going. Everything I did was for him," Keisha Brown said.

"My poor son. I can't give him an open casket because he's so badly burned," Tiffany Dickerson said.

After hearing that Tata may have fled to Nigeria before she could be questioned or arrested, the trust the parents had for Tata turned into anger and an even deeper pain.

"Why is she lying? Why can't she just be remorseful?" Tiffany Dickerson asked.

"I just need to know what happened," Keisha Brown said.

After such a tragedy, the nonprofit organization Collaborative For Children wants to help other parents seeking child care.

CEO Carol Shattuck said it is essential for parents to spend an entire day visiting the day care before enrolling. She also said parents should not be afraid to ask about experience and proof of certifications and references.


Previous Stories:
March 5, 2011: Fourth Child Laid To Rest After Daycare Fire
March 4, 2011: Tata Faces New Manslaughter Charges
March 3, 2011: Funerals For Day Care Fire Victims Begin
March 2, 2011: HFD Admits Mistakes In Letting Day Care Owner Get Away
March 1, 2011: 9 New Charges Filed Against Tata
March 1, 2011: Investigators: Day Care Owner Flees Country
February 28, 2011: Day Care Owner Flees To Nigeria
February 26, 2011: Fourth Child Dies After Day Care Fire
February 25, 2011: Investigators Suspect Kids Left Alone At Burning Day Care
February 25, 2011: Children Killed In Day Care Fire Identified
February 24, 2011: 3 Children Die In Day Care Fire
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  #218  
Old 03-10-2011, 06:52 AM
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Default "essential for parents to spend an entire day visiting the day care before enrolling"

How would you feel if a new parent asked to spend an entire day with you before enrolling?
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  #219  
Old 03-10-2011, 06:54 AM
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I don't know exactly why this story in particular strikes such a cord with me; but even two weeks later I still cry when I read the update articles.

My heart breaks for these parents. I have such hatred inside for this daycare provider. How could she be such a coward and flee before the DA could file the charges? How could she even think about leaving 7 little babies alone? How could she be so negligent as to leave them alone in a house with a pot of oil burning on the stove? I just don't get it. Part of me thinks there is still so much more to this story that we don't know.
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  #220  
Old 03-10-2011, 06:59 AM
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I guarantee there is much much more to it.

Do we still not know what she purchased? What was so important to go and leave these kids alone?
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  #221  
Old 03-10-2011, 07:20 AM
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I guarantee there is much much more to it.

Do we still not know what she purchased? What was so important to go and leave these kids alone?
I haven't seen anything, but I would really like to know what was so dang important for her to leave those babies!! But, as others have said, there must be more to this story, and I wouldn't be surprised if the trip to the store and the fire was just a cover for something else.
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  #222  
Old 03-10-2011, 08:08 AM
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How would you feel if a new parent asked to spend an entire day with you before enrolling?
I wouldn't allow it...it would be very disruptive. Here's the thing...you can spend a whole week with a provider and not know what is REALLY going on. An abusive, negligent provider isn't going to abusive and negligent when a parent is in the house. They can certainly pretend to be loving and nuturing for a day.
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  #223  
Old 03-10-2011, 08:14 AM
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How would you feel if a new parent asked to spend an entire day with you before enrolling?
I totally understand why the Collaborative said this, and I think as a parent looking for daycare, I would want to spend as much time as possible at the home or center before enrolling my child. But as a provider -- it freaks me out a little. I would really have trouble with a parent spending the entire day with me before enrolling. Yes, I don't have anything to hide, but still, it would leave me alone in a house with 6 kids and a complete stranger. Not exactly the situation I want to put myself in!
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  #224  
Old 03-10-2011, 08:16 AM
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I haven't seen anything, but I would really like to know what was so dang important for her to leave those babies!! But, as others have said, there must be more to this story, and I wouldn't be surprised if the trip to the store and the fire was just a cover for something else.
Are you guys thinking there may have been a death or injury from Shaken Baby or something else, and that she set the fire thinking she could get everyone out in time and then blame the injury/death on the fire?
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  #225  
Old 03-10-2011, 08:25 AM
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Are you guys thinking there may have been a death or injury from Shaken Baby or something else, and that she set the fire thinking she could get everyone out in time and then blame the injury/death on the fire?
That was my initial thought. I think she tried to cover something up and things just got out of hand way too quick and unexpectedly.
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  #226  
Old 03-10-2011, 08:59 AM
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That was my initial thought. I think she tried to cover something up and things just got out of hand way too quick and unexpectedly.
Or maybe not fast enough and she had to go back in and wait it out for a bit.
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  #227  
Old 03-10-2011, 09:27 AM
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Are you guys thinking there may have been a death or injury from Shaken Baby or something else, and that she set the fire thinking she could get everyone out in time and then blame the injury/death on the fire?
I'm thinking along those lines, but why the trip to the store? She could really get in trouble for that, even if anything else that happened managed to get covered up! She could have stuck with her story about being in the bathroom instead of physically leaving the house.
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  #228  
Old 03-10-2011, 09:59 AM
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How would you feel if a new parent asked to spend an entire day with you before enrolling?
I'd be fine with it and I have done it. I encourage parents to spend time observing so that they can be certain I am the right provider for their child and family.
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  #229  
Old 03-10-2011, 10:12 AM
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but why the trip to the store?
to get oil?
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  #230  
Old 03-10-2011, 10:13 AM
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I wouldn't allow it...it would be very disruptive. Here's the thing...you can spend a whole week with a provider and not know what is REALLY going on. An abusive, negligent provider isn't going to abusive and negligent when a parent is in the house. They can certainly pretend to be loving and nuturing for a day.
well, there are things you can see by observing that might turn you off (or that you might really like) even when someone is aware they're being watched. i mean, if someone doesn't make the kids wash their hands after playing in the dirt and before they eat while you're WATCHING - imagine what they do when you're not. i had to spend looots of time observing in college and i saw tons of things that shocked me. so, it's not really that someone would expect a provider to beat a child while they watch, but you can pick up on a lot of things. kids are so honest too - if something isn't normal they'll say, "you never make us do that!" or "why are we doing it this way?!"

it's a person decision for everyone, but i think if you have control over the kids - it shouldn't be that big of a deal to let them know there will be a visitor and expect them to act like humans.
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:38 AM
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I was thinking of the abuse factor because of the thread it appeared on. It never really occurred to me that someone might not wash kids hands...but I suppose that there are providers who aren't bright enough to wash kids hands even with a parent there.

I've allowed people to observe, but not for a whole day. Personally, I wouldn't like that. What am I going to do with them during nap? I have zero desire to spend 8 to 10 hours entertaining a parent...and yes, I know, I wouldn't have to, but that is who I am. I would definitely feel like I had an obligation to be host to them, while still doing daycare.

I, as a daycare parent, would be concerned that a stranger spent the day with my child. They would really need a background check before that would even be OK with licensing. If its just me and 8 kids, allowing a complete stranger to spend the day in my house really doesn't seem safe at all. I can see it in a center where there is a bigger staff...

In other words, there is a lot more to it than some fear that I won't be able to contain my kids.
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:43 AM
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I was thinking of the abuse factor because of the thread it appeared on. It never really occurred to me that someone might not wash kids hands...but I suppose that there are providers who aren't bright enough to wash kids hands even with a parent there.

I've allowed people to observe, but not for a whole day. Personally, I wouldn't like that. What am I going to do with them during nap? I have zero desire to spend 8 to 10 hours entertaining a parent...and yes, I know, I wouldn't have to, but that is who I am. I would definitely feel like I had an obligation to be host to them, while still doing daycare.

I, as a daycare parent, would be concerned that a stranger spent the day with my child. They would really need a background check before that would even be OK with licensing. If its just me and 8 kids, allowing a complete stranger to spend the day in my house really doesn't seem safe at all. I can see it in a center where there is a bigger staff...

In other words, there is a lot more to it than some fear that I won't be able to contain my kids.
I had posted this right after the fires. most of us responded NO that we would not allow for it. I asked this question, because the news channel that is covering the fire story had a website to go to for parents seeking childcare. #1 thing parents wanted was to be able to see how the provider interacted with the children. As a parent I would also wnat to see this, but as a provider i would not allow it.

As you said, I would not let a stranger in my home around the kids. This is what the 2 week trail is for.
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  #233  
Old 03-10-2011, 10:52 AM
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I havent read every single post on here so maybe someone mentioned this already but why did she leave a pan of oil cooking on the stove and leave to go to the store? It sounds intentional to me. I never leave my house without checking the stove (even if I havent cooked with it for days!) I think this lady had something to hide and the fact that she had already been involved with an intentionally set fire makes me extra suspicious. How many people have had 2 fires happen in a matter of a few years (especially when they are only 22?) Sounds like she either intentionally set this to cover up something else or has some sick mental issue with fire.
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:56 AM
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I agree.. I dont even walk to my mailbox without freaking out that something could go wrong, and I only go to the mailbox when they are asleep. Its at the end of the driveway lol.

I agree, she is hiding something.... But what? and will we ever find out?
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:04 AM
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For me it is not so difficult to have a parent observe prior to starting...I have my husband working here full time. As far as the whole stranger thing.....my parents trust me. They know I'd send someone packing if they were the slightest threat. I also have LOTS of people here regularly....right now I have three student teachers working here 3 hours per day - they are college students and I don't know them before they start and neither do my parents, but again my parents trust me to be a good judge of wether or not that person should be here.

More often than not, potential clients don't do lengthy observations, but nearly every one of my families recieved 2 hours free daycare daily for a whole week prior to starting their children full-days so that they could get a feel for how their children responded to being in my care.

After the experiences I had when placing my own children in care many years ago, the reason I started my own program being the lack of quality care out there, I WISH I had done lengthy observations prior to enrolling them and wish all parents would.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:04 AM
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I agree.. I dont even walk to my mailbox without freaking out that something could go wrong, and I only go to the mailbox when they are asleep. Its at the end of the driveway lol.

I agree, she is hiding something.... But what? and will we ever find out?
I don't go to my mailbox, unless they are sleeping as well. But usually dh just gets mail when he gets home. And my mailbox is 5 ft out my front door, and 5 feet from my back door.


I still think she went to the store for the oil. Make it look like she was trying to cook. I think there's something greater here, some sort of serious accident and she thought the fire was the best cover for it.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:07 AM
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I wouldn't allow it...it would be very disruptive. Here's the thing...you can spend a whole week with a provider and not know what is REALLY going on. An abusive, negligent provider isn't going to abusive and negligent when a parent is in the house. They can certainly pretend to be loving and nuturing for a day.
I conduct ECERS on programs. The first hour typically goes very well. But after that first hour, teachers/providers tend to slack off. I have seen many issues arise in the second and third hour of observations....many times they have been things I have been required to report to licensing. It's not easy to "fake" your routine, your interactions or the reactions to a misbehaving child for an extended period of time.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:26 AM
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I conduct ECERS on programs. The first hour typically goes very well. But after that first hour, teachers/providers tend to slack off. I have seen many issues arise in the second and third hour of observations....many times they have been things I have been required to report to licensing. It's not easy to "fake" your routine, your interactions or the reactions to a misbehaving child for an extended period of time.
Perhaps, although I would hazzard to guess that you are looking at things from a much differenct perspective than a parent. Most parents are looking for general safety and positive interactions between the provider and the kids. You are looking from a licensing perspective with a skill set most parents don't have.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:31 AM
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Perhaps, although I would hazzard to guess that you are looking at things from a much differenct perspective than a parent. Most parents are looking for general safety and positive interactions between the provider and the kids. You are looking from a licensing perspective with a skill set most parents don't have.
Correct. BUT, as I said, in an extended observation of oh say three hours, the parent will also notice, as I said before

"It's not easy to "fake" your routine, your interactions or the reactions to a misbehaving child for an extended period of time. "
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:38 AM
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Correct. BUT, as I said, in an extended observation of oh say three hours, the parent will also notice, as I said before

"It's not easy to "fake" your routine, your interactions or the reactions to a misbehaving child for an extended period of time. "
LOL...we're going to have to agree to disagree. I think that a provider can easily make nice for an extended period of time with a parent in the room with them.
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  #241  
Old 03-10-2011, 12:07 PM
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Maybe she was hiding a death of one of the infants. Maybe she shook one or it died of SIDS and she over the top panicked.
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  #242  
Old 03-10-2011, 12:16 PM
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Maybe she was hiding a death of one of the infants. Maybe she shook one or it died of SIDS and she over the top panicked.
I think someone else said that too and I agree....something smells fishy!!!
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  #243  
Old 03-10-2011, 12:48 PM
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Business tie-ins murky at day care
Owner of property where fire killed 4 children mum; fugitive suspect's ex-classmates recall her as angry bullyBy TERRI LANGFORD
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
March 7, 2011, 1:09AM

A 22-year-old day care operator's flight from justice has left government agencies red-faced and her family speechless. Now, questions linger about how an angry teen arsonist described by high school classmates as an arrogant bully ended up in the day care business.

Jessica Rene Tata was the face of Jackie's Child Care, the home-based day care that caught fire Feb. 24, killing four children. Tata, a criminal justice major at Houston Community College, is thought to have fled to Nigeria the day before the first of 14 charges, including four counts of manslaughter, were filed against her.

The extent to which she may have had business partners remains unclear. The property where the day care was located - a house at 2810 Crest Park Drive - is owned by Ronald Velasco, who has not returned repeated calls from the Houston Chronicle to explain his relationship with Tata.

Records show that Velasco is an officer in what appears to be one of his father's health care businesses, called Great Home Health Care Inc. Another of his father's health care businesses, called Vel-Nay Tru Living, is based at 12810 Westbranch Court, along with one of his son's businesses, Excelsior Home Solutions.

It is not clear if Ronald Velasco has a part in Vel-Nay, which, according to state records received more than $515,000 in Medicaid funds in the past year.

According to the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, Vel-Nay provides training and support services for mentally disabled adults.

"We are busy. We are so busy right now," said Rodolfo Velasco from the door of his west Houston business, Vel-Nay Tru Living.

A younger man's voice instructed him to just "Shut the door!" When asked about his son's property on 2810 Crest Park Drive, the father said: "I don't know what he owns," before slamming the door.

Various reports indicate that Tata's father, Godfrey Tata, has a thriving health care business, but the only mention in a search of databases at four state agencies was a failed application to be in the substance abuse business.

"Our system shows a man named Godfrey N. Tata of Houston sought a chemical dependency counselor license in the mid-1990s but did not pass the required exam and therefore was not licensed by us," said Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

He listed several businesses with the Harris County Clerk's Office, but most of the listings have expired. Velasco business records reveal no business partnerships with the Tatas, who continued their silence.

Tata's parents, Godfrey and Josephine, appear to have divorced decades ago. Jessica Tata is the youngest of five children.

Few willing to speak
Few people will talk about Tata. Those who knew her at Katy Taylor High School, where she set a fire in 2002 and was subsequently removed, speak of her as an angry bully and then ask that their names not be used.

"If she was going somewhere and you were in her way, she was either going to push you out of the way or mow you down," said Kat, a 2006 Taylor graduate who did not want her last name used. "It was all about Jessica all the time."

But the post-high school Tata has her supporters.

"This is not the Jessica I knew," said Dia Walcott, 24, a single mom who used Jackie's Child Care for her son, who was not there at the time of the fire. "No one forced her to do this (child care). She did it because she loves kids. And we went to her - we passed up so many day cares that were probably cheaper - but we went to her because we liked her."

"The thing that really kills me about all this ... I do know she was about to close the day care," Walcott said. "She was attending nursing school, or trying to. She hired people to come in and sit with the kids for a while."

Records show Jessica first registered "Jackie's Child Care" at another location in 2007, but state officials insist Tata never had a child care before being licensed a year ago at the home that burned.

At the time of the fire, Tata had seven children in her care 3 years old and younger. Video from a local Target indicates she left the seven by themselves to shop.

Fire at high school
As a registered day care home, Tata was allowed to supervise, by herself, up to 12 children - but no more than six younger children and six older children - at certain times of day.

The more than 2,000 home day care centers licensed in Houston are not required to have a city of Houston fire inspection.

The fire at the Jackie's Child Care operation exposed serious cracks in the anonymous city-county-state bureaucracies many Texans take for granted.

The Houston Fire Department and Harris County District Attorney's Office spent days after Tata's disappearance pointing fingers at one another.

Documents obtained by the Chronicle last week reveal that her day care home application wasn't vetted thoroughly.

Although she admitted in juvenile court she set a fire at Taylor High School in 2002, her three-year probation for the incident, which was technically not a conviction, was omitted from her application. A background check failed to find it.

Two classes of day care
Tata's day care home application - one of 11,056 applications sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety in 2010 for a background check - indicated she had never been accused of a felony as an adult or juvenile. Arson is a second-degree felony.

It is now believed that a lack of the original arrest report kept her arson case file from making it to the database used by DPS to conduct agency background checks.

In Texas, the most stringent regulations are applied to day care centers, the type of care most often used by wealthier families. Then there is a second-class type of day care, registered or licensed homes that are clustered in poorer neighborhoods and have fewer regulations. Most offer 24/7 care.

The state subjects them to fewer regulations in hopes of keeping operators from skipping the licensing process entirely, putting more children at risk in illegal operations.

Records show Tata received a total of $11,086.38 from the Texas Department of Agriculture, which distributes a federal grant to day care operators for food expenses. She received $5,773 from the Texas Workforce Commission in day care subsidies to working poor women. One mother said Tata charged $400 to $500 a month.

Reporters Peggy O'Hare and Claudia Feldman contributed to this report.
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Old 06-22-2017, 02:07 AM
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I know this is old but I just came across this thread.
So so heartbreaking It looks like she was brought back to the U.S.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-te...on-1687273.php

Wonder if they ever got to the bottom of what really happened that day


I have to say something on the age thing...

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She's not old enough to know to give her life to save the life of the kids no matter what. Until you are old enough to know that they always completely come before you..... you shouldn't be able to be alone with them. I'm certain 22 isn't old enough to know that.... educated or not... experienced or not... mother or not....... it's just too young.
Nope, I can't agree with this one bit. How can you be 'certain' of that There are so many young men and women who signed up to give their lives for their country, the children in this country being included. I know that's different, and you may disagree with 18 yr olds signing up in the military, but my point is that there are many 22 yr olds and younger who DO put others' lives before their own. Daycare settings included. I'm willing to bet there are providers of all ages who wouldn't put the childrens' lives first in an emergency situation.

Military aside, there are young persons in other difficult careers that are competent of making sound life or death decisions.

No disrespect Nan, I know you have a plethora of great knowledge in many daycare aspects.

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SOME 22 year olds should not be operating a daycare or caring for children, but that is SOME, not ALL. SOME older caregivers should not be operating a daycare... it all boils down to the individual and their abilities. Not age.
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Old 06-22-2017, 03:29 AM
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She ended up coming back and she was convicted of one count of felony murder and got 80 years. They dropped the rest of the charges because it would have been a waste of money and resources and continued to put the families through trials that would not have resulted in any more actual time in jail. She will be eligible for parole after 30 years.
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Old 06-22-2017, 06:04 AM
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ugh!

6 years
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  #247  
Old 06-22-2017, 07:57 AM
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I know this is old but I just came across this thread.
So so heartbreaking It looks like she was brought back to the U.S.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-te...on-1687273.php

Wonder if they ever got to the bottom of what really happened that day


I have to say something on the age thing...



Nope, I can't agree with this one bit. How can you be 'certain' of that There are so many young men and women who signed up to give their lives for their country, the children in this country being included. I know that's different, and you may disagree with 18 yr olds signing up in the military, but my point is that there are many 22 yr olds and younger who DO put others' lives before their own. Daycare settings included. I'm willing to bet there are providers of all ages who wouldn't put the childrens' lives first in an emergency situation.

Military aside, there are young persons in other difficult careers that are competent of making sound life or death decisions.

No disrespect Nan, I know you have a plethora of great knowledge in many daycare aspects.




I think military training received by a 22 year old is quite different than child care training.

How many child care classes EVER discuss giving your life for your charges. Where is that in any state regulations?

Our military is founded on risking your life for your countrymen, other soldiers, property etc. They are given weapon training and physical training to be the protectors. They are told "thank you for your service". Ever hear that as a standard saying given to child care providers? How many child care providers die each year when they are caring for kids compared to their age mate military counterparts?

It's not really a comparable profession.

In the thread my concern was her age and the NUMBER of kids she was allowed to have. She had way too many kids and only got two out. She did not try to get out the ones she knew were confined in playpens.

I'm thinking in terms of total responsibility that she could manage at her young age and experience of practicing getting them out in a fire. I don't think 22 is old enough to have the life experience to give your life for others or the wisdom to prevent having to give your life.

My son is considering the military at 18. He will have many weeks and years of training AND supervision. Tata had no daily supervision. That's another big difference.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:19 AM
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I think military training received by a 22 year old is quite different than child care training.
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My son is considering the military at 18. He will have many weeks and years of training AND supervision. Tata had no daily supervision. That's another big difference.
It is quite different. I joined at 18 and served for 6 years. There was no training on how to sacrifice yourself. Training or not, there are soldiers who absolutely should not be trusted with a firearm and who I wouldn't trust to watch my back if we were deployed, yet they remain in our Army. Age has nothing to do with it. People will always slip through the cracks.

My point is that age isn't a factor when determining if you're capable to give your life for others. Irregardless of your profession and irregardless of training. When it comes down to it, you either risk your life or you don't.

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I'm thinking in terms of total responsibility that she could manage at her young age and experience of practicing getting them out in a fire. I don't think 22 is old enough to have the life experience to give your life for others or the wisdom to prevent having to give your life.
Do you mean that 22 isn't old enough, unless you've received specialized training? (Not being rude, just trying to clarify.)

I think sacrificing yourself is something you have or you don't and saying age is the reason she didn't rescue those children is quite insulting IMO.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:26 AM
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It is quite different. I joined at 18 and served for 6 years. There was no training on how to sacrifice yourself. Training or not, there are soldiers who absolutely should not be trusted with a firearm and who I wouldn't trust to watch my back if we were deployed, yet they remain in our Army. Age has nothing to do with it. People will always slip through the cracks.

My point is that age isn't a factor when determining if you're capable to give your life for others. Irregardless of your profession and irregardless of training. When it comes down to it, you either risk your life or you don't.



Do you mean that 22 isn't old enough, unless you've received specialized training? (Not being rude, just trying to clarify.)

I think sacrificing yourself is something you have or you don't and saying age is the reason she didn't rescue those children is quite insulting IMO.
Things are usually only insulting or offensive if the shoe fits....kwim? that is NOT directed AT you personally.

I never at 22 yrs old thought that I knew everything but it was and is a common thought that at 22 most people DO think they know everything they need to know.

At 42+, you realize how much you didn't know...

Personally, I think her age DID play into her choices and decisions. If that is offensive to anyone that is currently that age or close to it then so be it.
But I guarantee that whatever the answer is for a 22 yr old will be different when they are no longer 22.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:40 AM
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Things are usually only insulting or offensive if the shoe fits....kwim? that is NOT directed AT you personally.

I never at 22 yrs old thought that I knew everything but it was and is a common thought that at 22 most people DO think they know everything they need to know.

At 42+, you realize how much you didn't know...

Personally, I think her age DID play into her choices and decisions. If that is offensive to anyone that is currently that age or close to it then so be it.
But I guarantee that whatever the answer is for a 22 yr old will be different when they are no longer 22.
I agree with this. The saying "hindsight is 20/20" rings true and the farther you get away from that age, the more clear things seem to get. I think age can generally play a factor in why people do things or react certain ways. Just looking back at 22 year old me, I KNOW I would have reacted differently than I would now if in the situation like Tata. The IMPACT and seriousness of what was happening would have registered far differently because I am older and more experienced now and also because I am a mother.
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Old 06-22-2017, 11:49 AM
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It is quite different. I joined at 18 and served for 6 years. There was no training on how to sacrifice yourself. Training or not, there are soldiers who absolutely should not be trusted with a firearm and who I wouldn't trust to watch my back if we were deployed, yet they remain in our Army. Age has nothing to do with it. People will always slip through the cracks.

My point is that age isn't a factor when determining if you're capable to give your life for others. Irregardless of your profession and irregardless of training. When it comes down to it, you either risk your life or you don't.



Do you mean that 22 isn't old enough, unless you've received specialized training? (Not being rude, just trying to clarify.)

I think sacrificing yourself is something you have or you don't and saying age is the reason she didn't rescue those children is quite insulting IMO.
I don't think 22 is old enough to have the wisdom to know you can't handle 9 little kids... can't leave them alone while you quickly go get something at the target... can't have the TIME under your belt to have small groups that teach you how to care for kids and develop the pure love for their life.... have the selflessness to try to get them out even if you are going to get burned.... the wisdom to ALWAYS check every burner when cooking and when leaving the room with kids who CAN get up... turn off and put out of reach... and on and on.

She didn't have any burns. She lived in a small house. She knew where the confined kids were.

I truly believe it takes maturity to self teach and grow into the idea that their lives are more valuable than your own. I don't think too many workers in fields where they aren't specifically trained to protect and serve... who would lay their life for a kid other than their own. Our natural instinct to self protect has to be dismantled wherein we grow into the idea that first... do everything to avoid being in that position (like not taking kids you can't get out in a fire) and that should tragedy strike you will give your life trying to save theirs.
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Old 06-22-2017, 02:01 PM
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I 100% agree age plays into decision making. No question there. Nan was saying she was certain the woman's young age made her unable to risk her life to rescue the kids and no 22 year old has the capacity to make those decisions with that number of kids. That's what I disagree with.

Age may have been a factor but it wasn't the sole reason for her actions (or lack thereof). And not all 22 year olds would be incapable of risking their life in that situation.
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Old 06-22-2017, 03:33 PM
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Hi I wanted to share I was in this exact situation. I'm in my 20s and had a house fire recently.I think it has to do with how mature u are being that young.her leaving those kids to go shopping says alot that she is irresponsible if u don't no better than to leave kids alone u should not be watching kids.some are more mature for there age and some are immature .I did save the children and get them out safe ,I was burned but thats what you do to save the children's lives are way more important than your own.i would say I'm more mature than most my age I no how to remain calm in an emergency situation and other things. The kids are the most important no matter what.i don't think it's age that matters it's the person .
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Old 06-22-2017, 04:31 PM
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I don't think 22 is old enough to have the wisdom to know you can't handle 9 little kids... can't leave them alone while you quickly go get something at the target... can't have the TIME under your belt to have small groups that teach you how to care for kids and develop the pure love for their life.... have the selflessness to try to get them out even if you are going to get burned.... the wisdom to ALWAYS check every burner when cooking and when leaving the room with kids who CAN get up... turn off and put out of reach... and on and on.

She didn't have any burns. She lived in a small house. She knew where the confined kids were.
This provider certainly didn't have the maturity, among other skills, to properly care for those children.

22 isn't old enough for some, perhaps most, but not all.
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Old 06-24-2017, 10:12 PM
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Unreal... she was cheap too. So I guess those people valued their $ more than their child's well-being. You get what you pay for. So sad
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Old 06-25-2017, 02:25 PM
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Look, she left the house.
She.
Left.
The.
House.
She left a house full of babies.
To go grocery shopping.
She left food cooking.

You know who would do something like that? My four-year-old. Most people have better decision-making skills by the time they're in middle school.

Yes, 22-year-olds have a long way to go. But a 22-year-old who would leave food cooking and a house full of babies, for any reason at all (other than maybe "somebody strapped a bomb to my chest and it'll kill all the children if I stay in the house"), is way off course and has been for a long time.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:58 AM
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Unreal... she was cheap too. So I guess those people valued their $ more than their child's well-being. You get what you pay for. So sad
I was 19 with 2 jobs and no it wasnt what i paid for it was the convienence that she stayed open 24 hours!! Like you know so much!!!
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:34 PM
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Default To the mom who posted...

To the mom who posted, so sorry for your loss.

Here is an update. So tragic and heartbreaking.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...-fire/1717065/
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:43 PM
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Default another update

https://www.click2houston.com/news/b...ying-at-school
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:14 AM
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Thank you for sharing that. Have no words for that whole tragedy but this little girl, is amazing. Her whole mindset is one of survivor. So so sad, the whole thing. And her brother, what he did laying on top of her.
The provider....how does any person, even for a second, think that's an okay thing to do.
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by One of the kids moms View Post
I was 19 with 2 jobs and no it wasnt what i paid for it was the convienence that she stayed open 24 hours!! Like you know so much!!!
I'm so very sorry.
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  #262  
Old 06-12-2019, 09:43 AM
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hwichlaz hwichlaz is online now
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Originally Posted by juliebug View Post
more info here
http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?se...rticle-7980199

it happened at 1:30pm local time
That would be right in the middle of my nap time, when I might feel safe sitting on the toilet for a while "reading" But then later on in the thread I read that she left? OMG who the hell does that? I don't even like stepping out onto the front porch.
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  #263  
Old 06-12-2019, 10:51 AM
happymom happymom is online now
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This story just hits me like a ton of bricks.
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death at daycare, fire, home alone, leaving children alone, supervision, tata

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