Daycare Dangers: WREG goes undercover to see how safe things are at local daycares

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Daycares are a life saver for many parents, and many moms and dads love and trust the places they drop off their kids.

That was the case with Alexus Taylor and Derrick Boyd when we met them outside the Building Blocks Child Development Center on Knight Arnold, where their 3 month-old-son and 2-year-old daughter have been in daycare for a few months.

"I am very picky about people watching my children."

But would their trusting daycare allow a stranger who is not on the parents approved list to pick up the children?

They agreed to let WREG employee Lisa try. With an undercover camera in hand, Lisa goes to get the kids.

The first layer of security: locked doors requiring Lisa to be buzzed in.

A worker opens the door for Lisa, then turns and walks away.

"I need to pick up Aniya."

Without showing any I.D., Lisa is told what room the children are in.

"Just go get them. Wait a minute. Are you on the list? Lisa isn't on the list."

Lisa identifies herself as a relative who is picking up the kids since their parents are running late.

"What's your name?"


A Building Blocks employee attempts to call the children's father and gets the families mixed up. But she never calls the parents waiting outside to see if Lisa brings out their children.

"She hasn't called yet."

"They supposed to call us to make sure it's okay."

Back inside, a daycare worker still hasn't seen Lisa's I.D, but suddenly says she sees her name on the pickup list.

"Okay, I see it now. You are on the pickup list. Thank you very much."

She gets the kids for Lisa to take home. Like that, Lisa is outside with the children.

"They said 'Yes, you are on the list.' They said 'We know you know them so you can go back and get them.'"

The parents were speechless.

"We gotta find another spot. That ain't cool. She said she was on the list. They didn't even call us. They didn't do protocol."

An infant and a toddler turned over to someone the parents don't even know.

This was a test, but it could have been very real.

We confront the Building Blocks' staff.

"We are from Channel 3. We just had somebody come in and pick up two kids. She was not on the list. We are trying to find out what happened. This is the mother."

"Ah, can ya'll get that camera out. No comment."

They tell us to leave.

"No comment. Bye."

Outside the stunned parents did comment.

"Too much going on for them to be this careless. If this would have happened for real."

Daycares are supposed to have rules in place. Most ask for I.D., have a list of select people who can get the kids and call the parents when someone shows up who is not on the list.

But those rules have to be followed to be effective.

We contacted the Department of Human Services and were told there are child care licensing rules that require children be signed in and out of a center by a parent or other authorized person.

Workers are also supposed to verify the identity of any person to whom a child is released.

DHS says it is reviewing what happened at the Building Block Center, which is a 3 Star Day Care that has not had any recent problems.

Building Blocks wasn't the only daycare we tested. We spent days visiting several around the Mid-South.

At one Bartlet daycare, our WREG worker was told she had to have ID and the kid's parents, one of them waiting outside with us, had to be called.

"She says 'I tell you what. I gotta go by the book. Just call them first.'"

The owner of Building Blocks declined to go on camera but tells WREG her daycare does have a protocol that is supposed to be followed, but this time there was a mix-up.

The problem is it only takes one time, and an innocent child can be gone in seconds.

"I'd be out of my mind if someone came up here and took my son. An innocent child could be gone with a stranger. Not cool. Not cool at all."

We don't know what is going to happen differently at Building Blocks Day Care after this.

DHS says outside of its standard rules, security can vary from daycare to daycare.

Their advice to parents.:
1) Maintain clear communications with your child care provider.
2) Express your concerns and expectations.
3) If you have questions, you can always contact the evaluator assigned to your child's daycare or DHS directly.

The number for DHS is 1-800-462-8261.

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