By Charlotte Huffman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Police are investigating after five children, ranging in age to from six-months-old to nine-years-old, were found locked inside of an SUV in the Port Richmond section of the city (See Previous Story).
Chopper 3 HD was over the scene of the 3700 block of Aramingo Avenue Tuesday morning.
Police say around 11 a.m., a 46-year-old female informed officers that she parked next to a tan SUV and heard children crying. When she looked into the vehicle she saw five children left unattended, with the vehicle running and the air conditioner on.
She said she alerted security who began paging the vehicle owner over the store intercom. Police then went into the store, where they located the female still shopping. She was escorted back to her vehicle and taken into custody.
Police determined that the children were in the temporary care of Karin Thompson, 39, who was running a daycare facility out of her home.
Investigative reporter Charlotte Huffman is digging deeper into Thompson and her daycare facility.
The I-Team discovered since opening about six years ago, it’s only been inspected once, during which investigators found no violations.
But following today’s incident, State Department of Public Welfare officials tell CBS 3, they will re-inspect the daycare and while Thompson does have a valid license, they’re launching an investigation to determine whether or not to revoke it.
The CBS 3 I-Team showed you in a special report last year the lack of inspections is part of a larger problem (See Previous Story).
Smaller daycares, like Thompson’s, are allowed to care for up to six children at a time.
There are 800 of them in Philadelphia, but our investigation found the state had only inspected 10 percent of them.
Because unlike larger daycares, these smaller ones do not have mandatory annual inspections.
(Huffman:) Is that good enough for the children of Philadelphia?
“Absolutely it’s not. In fact its egregious and concerning for parents and mommies and daddies who have to look for quality, accessible child care,” Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said in a November 2013 interview.
Following our investigation, City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown took action (See Previous Story).
In January, she introduced a bill that mandates annual inspections for all daycares in Philadelphia.
“The fact is we should go the extra mile and make sure children are protected. That’s the responsible thing to do. This legislation pushes us in that direction,” the councilwoman said in a January 2014 interview.
Councilwoman Reynolds Brown’s office says the bill will be scheduled for a hearing in September. At that time she expects it to be called up for a vote.
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