The Praise Fellowship Assembly of God's daycare will be closed for the rest of the week after a toddler was found unresponsive at the church Wednesday.
Juan Cardenas, 1, was pronounced dead after apparently drowning in the church’s baptismal pool. It is suspected the young boy wandered off from the daycare in the church. Cardenas was transported to St. Vincent's Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
Unlicensed registered ministries must register with the health department and the fire marshal.
Fox59 found state records of violations at the center, including children without immunization records, care takers without criminal background checks, bottles not properly stored, outdated formula, dirty cribs, training toilets with urine in them and televisions in dangerous places where they could top over on children.
However, Fox59 could not find any formal complaints from parents filed against the facility.
"Ever since she was 6-weeks-old, she's been at this daycare,” said Casandra Watson, who has a 2-year-old child at the daycare. “Never had any problems, not even a scraped knee or anything like that. She loves this daycare and I love this daycare as well."
As an unlicensed registered ministry, the daycare must also get parental signatures of consent on a form that reads:
“I understand that this child care ministry is not licensed under the laws of Indiana. However, I understand that this child care ministry must comply with the state rules concerning sanitation and fire and life safety for the primary use of the structure in
which it is conducted. I understand that it is my responsibility to ensure that the nutritional and health needs of my child are met while my child is at the child care ministry."
“They're not coming back,” said parent Angel Critendon, who has children at the daycare. “So she said the kid was by himself, so my kids won’t be coming back.”
An unlicensed ministry can still be held liable for injury or death to a child if it results from neglect or intentional wrongdoing.
The police investigation is ongoing. No charges have been filed so far.
Rep. Pat Bauer spoke out Thursday, responding to the need for church daycares to be licensed.
“That's certainly a tragedy, and again, that's where we need Child Protective Services to be able to investigate,” said Rep. Bauer.
“See how that goes and then yes, maybe there is a cause for more legislation, but we do have legislation and we have appropriated the money to protect these children and it's not being done. That is the point.”
State records reveal violations at church daycare where toddler died
Juan Cardenas, 1, was pronounced dead after apparently drowning in the church's baptismal pool.