COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – The owner of four child care facilities in Colorado Springs will have to wait until the new year to face a judge on charges of child abuse. In November, the Department of Human services received complaints about the Play Mountain Place day care taking in more children than were allowed by law.
According to an arrest affidavit for the owner Carla Faith, police initially didn’t find anyone inside, but that police could hear a child crying.
Another search led to the discovery of a false wall and stairway to a finished basement where 26 toddlers all under the age of three were being cared for by two adults.
Faith, the owner, and three other women are all facing charges of influencing a public servant and misdemeanor child abuse.
Faith is now also the target of a civil lawsuit, filed by nearly 30 parents who claim the inadequate care has had a lasting impact on their children.
Sherry MacWilliam is among those taking their own action.
“All of the questions you’re supposed to ask, we asked,” she said.
MacWilliam recalls learning about the hidden basement and how at first she found it hard to believe.
“I felt like I was living in horror movie, I was shocked and just so confused,” she said.
Now a month after that discovery, and talking with several other parents, she says it’s easy to see there were things about the day care that raised red flags.
“There was a couple times where I picked him up and his diaper had obviously not been changed for a long time and I was very upset,” Macwilliam said.
That neglect is a focus of the lawsuit; parents believe it caused a number of physical and behavioral issues.
McWilliams said in the weeks following their departure from facilities run by Faith, she has seen changes with her son’s aggression.
“I think he was really showing us that he was struggling with stress and anxiety or something. It sounds like they weren’t feeding them, they were dehydrated, and not changing them and it was probably very overcrowded and I think he was trying to show us that,” she said.
Her hope now is that by sharing her story she can protect other parents.
“I really just want parents to understand they have to do more, they have to dig deeper,” she said.
Carla Faith’s hearing on misdemeanor child abuse charges was postponed from Dec. 26 until Jan. 2, 2020.
You can search any licensed day care in the state, including complaints and inspection results using this link.
A lawsuit filed by parents claims breach of their duty of care to the children including, but is not limited to:
- Placement of children in the basement crawlspace;
- Failure to provide care for the children in a safe and appropriate location;
- Failure to perform background checks on staff and negligent hiring of staff;
- Failure to provide appropriate training for staff;
- Failure to provide appropriate supervision for staff;
- Failure to exercise reasonable care and reasonable supervision for the children; and
- Failure to comply with Colorado’s Child Licensing Care Act and the rules of the Department.
- The children were too young to effectively communicate to the parents regarding the negligent care being provided by the defendants.