Daycare investigated after toddler found in street



Posted on August 15, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 18 at 9:57 AM

Video: Daycare investigated after child walks away

TACOMA, Wash. - The state is investigating a Tacoma daycare center after a toddler in its care wandered outside and on to the street Monday.

Two of the staff members at Eastside Koinonia have been put on administrative leave after the incident.

On Monday, 20-month-old Amaya Jones walked out of the childcare center through an open door and wandered out onto Portland Avenue, where cars swerved to avoid hitting her.

A woman driving by spotted Amaya and took her to the daycare. She insisted on staying there until Amaya's parents were notified.

"They weren't looking for her," said Jeanette Geiger, Amaya's mother. "They had no clue she was gone."

The daycare owners decline to comment on the incident.

Since opening three years ago, Eastside Koinonia has been cited for eight state violations. In some complaints the state concluded the staff does not have qualifications to provide adequate care and the daycare does not provide adequate supervision.

"Each one of those were resolved," said Joshua Verville, of the Washington Department of Early Learning. "We would develop a compliance agreement and a plan of action so that the center could resolve those issues."

Despite its pattern of violations, the state had put the daycare on its referral list to parents. That's how Amaya's mom found the daycare in the first place.

"They need to be closed," Geiger said "They're negligent."

The state has now put a red flag on the daycare's referral. So if parents call the state and ask for daycare recommendations, they will not be referred to Eastside Koinonia.

Eastside Koinonia is licensed to care for 44 children, ages infant to 12 years old.

Depending on the outcome of the Child Protective Services investigation, the incident could lead to the daycare being shut down.