When Julie Powell left her two small children at a drop-in day care facility in Billings, Montana, she thought she had done her due diligence. She checked out the company’s website and inspected the facility. After learning that the day care had been in business for over 20 years, she felt confident in leaving her kids there while she spent an afternoon playing golf with her husband. But perhaps she should have paid closer attention to the name of the day care before entrusting them with her children: Toddler Escape Drop-In Child Care.
Of course toddlers aren’t supposed to escape from Toddler Escape, but that is exactly what Powell’s 18-month-old son did. According to police, Carter Powell wandered unnoticed out of a back door and onto a busy street alone. He was spotted by a passerby, who called police and waited with him until they arrived.
As horrifying as that is, it actually get worse. When Powell arrived to pick up her kids, workers at the day care center didn’t even bother to mention the incident. They took her money and sent her on her way none the wiser. Sarah Heiser, president of Toddler Escape, says she had every intention of telling Powell what had happened to her son but wanted to get the whole story from her employees first.
The ‘whole story’ conveniently absolves the day care of any responsibility for what happened. According to Heiser, the wind blew open a back door at a time when one of the two workers in charge of Carter’s group happened to be in the bathroom. The other worker was with the children but somehow did not notice a door flying open and a child walking out of it.
Police investigated the facility and determined that Carter’s escape was a fluke and that the day care center was a safe and secure environment. Unless, of course, the wind blows. In that case, all bets are off.