OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — There are big changes at an Overland Park daycare center after FOX4’s Sherae Honeycutt looked into parents concerns.
The Learning Experience corporate office reached out to FOX4 on Friday to say that the owner of the franchise who was responsible for day-to-day operations at the center was terminated. They say he was fired for “failing to meet standards of care.”
Nine families have reached out to the Overland Park Police Department to file reports of abuse or neglect against the center after their child attended the Learning Experience. Public Information Officer, John Lacy, said many of the reports were filed after parents saw FOX4’s report on the center and believed their child may have been abused.
The Kansas Department for Children and Families is working with the police department on the investigation. The licensing body for the state, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, is also conducting their own investigation. Neither can comment on the investigations.
We have been made aware of recent allegations against the independently owned and franchise-operated Overland Park location. Out of respect for the privacy of our families, we do not comment on pending allegations involving a center, but we are working closely with local and state authorities to address and resolve any concerns.The Learning Experience Corporate Office
Parents told FOX4 children came home with unexplained bruising, dirty diapers, changed behavior, and fears about going to school.
We are committed to providing a safe environment for our children, families, and staff and that will always remain our highest priority.The Learning Experience Corporate Office
A representative for the company tells FOX4 they have a plan in place with executive team members with “more than 50 years experience combined for the purpose of taking over the day-to-day operations for the center and to support the family and needs of the community.”
Several parents told FOX4, the Learning Experience has cameras in their facility, but the company’s policy was not to record the video for playback. Parents say evidence that could be obtained easily through the use of recording does not exist because of the Learning Experience’s practices, and is making the police’s investigation more difficult.
Erica Beeler’s 1-year-old son came home with mysterious bruises and eventually pulled him out of the center on her own. However, when she saw FOX4’s report she realized her son was abused as well. Beeler said she is glad police and the state are investigating, but now may be the time to see daycare reform in Kansas.
“They are working as hard as they can, but I don’t think it’s enough. If they can’t handle it is there some kind of accrediting body that should be accrediting these daycares and is there another way to make sure we have a checks and balance systems in place needed,” Beeler said.
While parents wait and let the process work, Beeler and Harder say they worry about the kids still inside the Learning Experience.