COLORADO SPRINGS — Dozens of families around Colorado Springs are reeling this week, after the sudden closure of two well-known daycares in the area.
Officers with the Colorado Department of Human Services and the Colorado Springs Police Department raided Play Mountain Place at 838 1/2 E Willamette Avenue on Wednesday last week.
The raid revealed what CSPD referred to as a “false wall” in the basement of 838 E Willamette Avenue, a personal residence not licensed for operation as a daycare. 26 children and two adults were discovered, hidden behind that false wall, amounting to, at the very least, a gross violation of the license held by Play Mountain Place.
Play Mountain Place is owned and operated by Carla Faith. It was closed the day after the raid, along with the Counterpoint School, located at 610 E. Willamette Avenue.
A parent, who asked we identify her by her first name only, picked her daughter up from that personal residence last week and offered a grim description of the basement room.
“[DHS walk me down this very narrow staircase that immediately smelled like smoke, stale smoke, stale smoke that I had smelled on my daughter,” Kate told FOX21 News on the phone. “Trash everywhere, discarded high chairs, discarded toys,” she said.
Licenses were pulled from Play Mountain Place and Counterpoint. CDHS and police also stopped Faith from providing care in unlicensed homes at an additional location on E Willamette Avenue and a property on Franklin Street. Those properties were not known to CDHS untill parents called them in.
As parents scramble to find alternative care, they’re also left to address the ramifications of the trauma their children may have experienced in the care of Faith’s staff at Play Mountain Place and the unlicensed locations.
CDHS did not find evidence of licensing violations at Counterpoint.
DeeAnn Kittrell, a clinical supervisor with AspenPointe, said, right now, parents can look for immediate signs of trauma, which may include:
- Sleep disruption
- Children acting “clingy”
- More emotional reactions
It would be best, Kittrell said, not to force children to talk about their experience, but if children do want to talk about it, to listen well. She said to be there to support your children as emotions come up and avoid messages like, “be brave”. That advice, she said, doesn’t allow kids to experience the important feelings of fear or sadness.
And Kittrell added, if parents feel treatment is the best option, to seek that treatment out as soon as possible.
Kittrell noted if photographs or video surface, which may remind victims of the trauma they experienced, it may not be in their best interest to see that media.
If it’s an older kid asking to see pictures as a way to process what happened, Kittrell said, that should be okay. Otherwise, it may do more harm then good.
It’s very important, though, to check in with your kids as they process the experience.
Remember, Kittrell warned, if a daycare won’t allow you to pop in at anytime, even unannounced, that’s a red flag.
And, she said, the parents involved in this situation are also likely having a difficult time, too.
Kittrell also said when our children experience trauma, it’s important to watch for certain signs, as they process what happened.
Anyone who feels they are experiencing a crisis can call the state crisis line, anytime: 844-493-8255.
You can also text “TALK” to 38255.