Columbia daycare to close after inspectors find roaches, lack of food

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A Columbia daycare is set to close its doors after inspectors live and dead roaches inside and determined the business did not enough food for the children.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services proposed to put Little Blessing Learning Center on probation after an “ongoing sanitation issue.”

The daycare had 30 days to appeal the proposal. The state said the daycare decided to close its doors instead.

The proposed probation started on June 20, The daycare told the state it will close on Friday.

The state health department said it will check to make sure the daycare closed.

“Facilities are required to be in compliance with sanitation as well as licensing rules,” state health department child care regulation official Sue Porting said.

However, the state doesn’t actually report those violations to parents.

The state said that during multiple visits to Little Blessing Learning Center since January, inspectors noted the following:

  • Dead insects and visible debris/grease
  • Live roaches in the kitchen, dry storage and toddler room
  • Spiders and cobwebs in the kitchen and the dry storage area
  • Dead roaches throughout the facility, including in the pantry, kitchen island cupboard and the office area.
  • Dead roaches in the microwave door
  • Roach spray and a mouse bait above the fridge
  • Holes in the walls

LINK: Little Blessing inspection reports

State inspection reports show the daycare had a professional pest control company treat the facility on Feb. 25 and March 4, 2019. The state inspectors still found roaches in the facility and decided additional treatments were needed, but records show the daycare did not receive any further treatments for its roaches and insects.

Little Blessing Learning Center is among the fewer than 1 percent of daycares across Missouri that have been placed on a proposed probation from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

“Licensing rules are minimum health and safety standards, so they protect children’s health and safety, they are the minimum requirements to be protected in a childcare setting, so its important that those basic requirements be in place,” Porting said.

Porting said the findings were concerning and “that’s why the department took an action.”

But, Porting said Missouri law does not require the state health department to notify parents if their child’s daycare has violations.

“Facilities are operated by small businesses and it’s their responsibility to notify their clients,” Porting said.

ABC 17 News tried to get in touch with the daycare, but messages went unreturned.

The state puts daycare’s inspection reports online and Porting encourages parents to check the inspections to make sure they are aware of their child’s daycare standing.

Here are some additional things Porting said parents can do to spot potential violations:

  • Do the food serving sizes look correct?

  • Does it look like enough food?

  • Are the children complaining of being hungry when they are picked up from daycare?

  • Do you see things that are broken?

  • Is the gate or latch broken on the gate at the daycare?

  • Is there a door open? Is that door not secured/broken/cannot latch.

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