We had used the place once before years ago, and the price wasn't horrible ($65 for both kids) so I figured they'd have a nice afternoon while I got some business taken care of. Drop off was uneventful, the manager was at the desk, kids were in two play rooms, divided by age appropriately.
When I picked up my children at 3:45, i walked directly into the location, no one was at the desk. I saw my son (9) sitting in a line of "older" kids along the hallway..not sure what their plans were. I also saw the younger children in the kitchen area with some sort of craft project. The only teacher/leader I saw looked to be a 15 year old boy -- this conflicts with NJ State laws that govern licensed child care spaces. I was able to leave without any notice or discussion with both of my kids.
As I thought about this, I was concerned. This was a licensed daycare place, and truthfully, there are regulations. Had I wanted to, I felt that i might ave been able to walk out with someone else's kid (though i barely wanted to walk out with my own LOL). I emailed the owner my concern:
I am a bit concerned. I came in yesterday to pick up my kids at around 3:45 and I could not find a single adult. There was a teenager kind of leading a crafting class in the kitchen area, and the older children were sitting in the hallway in a line. I came in, got my kids and walked out without what I feel was a single person noticing. I could have probably taken other children with me, had I had the inclination....that scares me.I sent this on Tuesday, got no response on Wednesday and followed up today b/c I still hadn't heard anything back. The response I then received is below:
Please let me know what your normal protocol is for pick up at the end of the day? Since we aren't regular users of your service, maybe I wasn't aware of what is SUPPOSED to happen.
I apologize I am just receiving this email today and was very alarmed when I read this. I just spoke with Chrissy, my manager about this and she was in fact in the building when you came and picked them up. She was in my office which has a two way mirror on both the windows and my office door.
She did see you pick up but was nursing her newborn, that's why she didn't come right out. I do apologize that she didn't come out right away and acknowledge your presence and thank you for coming in. Had someone other than Chrissy been here we would have asked you for ID if we weren't here when you dropped off in the morning.
As far as your concern regarding our ratios we are a liscened facility and we follow the NJ state guidelines for ratios. They were actually 3 people in the building that day when you dropped off and picked up. With there being 28 children that day our staff to child ratio was more than fine.
Again I apologize that Chrissy did not come out and acknowledge your presence. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.
The owner followed up with a 2nd response:
The more I think about it. All you have to do is ask your kids how many teachers were here that day. They were not in the same group all day so there had to be more than one teacher. If there were kids lined up in the hallway that meant they were waiting for their teacher who was probably in the restroom or in the storage room getting out games.
I can definitely appreciate your concerns but am very surprised that you would think I would only have 1 coach in the building and let a new parent walk out with no one noticing. We have been in business a very long time and have a good reputation and I would hate for you to walk away with a bad impression.
So I am even more concerned since her email to me feels defensive. I realize my questioning the business could be an offensive thing, but I didn't drop willy nilly and call the county (which I could have done) I simply asked them what their protocol is. I have never had a daycare situation where I didn't have to sign my child in using a password system or some other format and since I am not a regular here, I don't know what their set up is for day to day.
So let me know, any of you, if you think I was out of line to be concerned and what I might have done differently if you think so!