KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Chelsea Jackson started her search for a daycare, she didn’t have to look too far.

Her church, The Refuge KC, had one on-site called Refuge Kids Academy.

“I was getting a bunch of good reviews on Facebook about this daycare, and it was close to my mom’s house. So it seemed perfect at the time,” Jackson said.

But her experience was far from perfect. In May, she got an upsetting phone call from the daycare director.

“She was just like, ‘I’m sorry, there’s been a situation. Your daughter was scratched,'” Jackson said.

Jackson shared photos of the her daughter’s injuries with FOX4.

“She’s bit, her eyeball is scratched up, her whole face and she’s sleeping,” Jackson said. “She’s sleeping. She’s got a head injury, and you’re letting the infant sleep.”

She took her daughter to the hospital and filed a police report with the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department.

She tells FOX4 she also had an issue with the daycare provider keeping her infant with children 2 years and older.

FOX4 reached out to the daycare operators but our messages and phone calls went unanswered. FOX4 also dropped by the business, but it was locked up.

A response to Jackson’s incident was found on The Refuge KC Facebook page. It states in part:

“We followed all protocols for the State of Missouri and Refuge Kids Academy. Refuge Kids Academy immediately reported the incident to the State of Missouri. The State of Missouri did their due diligence and underwent an investigation, there was also an investigation done by Refuge Kids Academy. We put in measure to prevent this from happening in the future that have been reviewed by the State.”

FOX4 contacted the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education over this investigation.
Its communications officer responded back and said:

“DESE’s Office of Childhood (OOC) does not have any record of a facility by this name at this location. The only thing we have at this location was a license-exempt determination for Longview Childcare Academy in 2004. The organization received a license-exempt determination in 2004, but never opened up a child care facility.”

The department also stated, “We will investigate it as an illegal child care facility and provide them with a Program Evaluation Questionnaire. That questionnaire determines if the child care facility could be designated as license-exempt because it is owned/operated by a religious organization.”

Jackson tells FOX4 she was never contacted by state representatives over an investigation into the daycare.

FOX4 has learned the daycare has had prior locations before its location on Longview Road.

DESE said its prior location on 3406 Troost had a license-exempt program, but it was closed in its system on July 30, 2021.

DESE also said it has an active unlicensed account for Refuge Kids Academy at 10816 Hillcrest Road, and an illegal complaint was received for this address on June 23, 2022. This complaint is still pending.

Jackson is not the only mother who has had issues with the daycare.

Taylor Strickland said her son was injured by another child nearly two years ago when the daycare was located on Troost Avenue.

“I discovered teeth marks in his back,” she said

Strickland let the situation go — until her child came home with another injury to his head.

“What happened to your head? He said, ‘Auntie threw a bottle at my head,'” Strickland said.

Strickland shared the incident report from the daycare with FOX4. She also filed a complaint with the Missouri Department of Social Services. DSS could not confirm this complaint due to confidentiality under state law.

Jackson plans on taking legal action against the daycare. At the end of the day, she wants to prevent other children from being harmed.

“I don’t feel like you should be a leader have no children. I don’t feel like people should trustfully leave their kids with you,” she said.

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