Parents left to find childcare as state shuts down Ponderay day care

Parents left to find childcare as state shuts down Ponderay day care
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Parents who once trusted their children to Little Fit Day Care are now left to find new childcare.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare shut down the day care center for leaving children unattended, which resulted in injuries to a 6-month-old baby.

The state says an inspection by Panhandle Public Health and a report filed with the Ponderay Police Department found the 6-month-old baby was held down by their neck, hit, dragged and bit by several other children who were left alone. The child was taken to the hospital but is now recovering at home.

The state says day care owner Dennis McLeish III never reported the incident to the Dept. of Health and Welfare. McLeish now has 25 days to appeal the state’s decision, or the doors to Little Fit will stay closed for five years, according to health and welfare officials.

KXLY spoke over the phone with a mother who pulled her children out of Little Fit last year after six to seven months there. The woman, who asked not to be named, called the conditions “horrendous” and “traumatic” as she said her children were often left alone and bullied. She told KXLY while she was on the wait list for another daycare for about a month, her only option was to take her kids to work with her.

Now, parents who depended on Little Fit are left to look elsewhere for help. KXLY learned of at least one other day care in the area that’s taking in children — on a temporary basis — who stayed at Little Fit.

The case is being reviewed by the Bonner County Prosecutor’s Office. The records have not been made public. KXLY is expecting to have an update from Ponderay Police early next week.

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