The father of a five-year-old girl who was found unattended, with five other children, in a Winnipeg home-based daycare in May says he's angry that he trusted the caregiver but he desperately needed daycare.
Police laid child abandonment charges against a 33-year-old woman after the six kids, who were between one and five years old, were found alone in a St. Vital home on May 28.
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CBC News is not naming the daycare provider because the children, who are considered to be victims in the case, include two of her own dependents.
The children were believed to have been alone for at least one hour but they were found in good health, police said when they announced the woman's arrest.
The father of the five-year-old girl told CBC News that his daughter told him the caregiver had left the house.
No one knew where the daycare operator went or why, said the man, who added that the woman later called him to say the police were at her daycare.
"She said, 'This and this happened and I was out of my home for just 15 minutes … and right now the police, they're at my home, and can you come [to] my home?' And I said, like, 'Is there anything serious?' She said, 'Yup,'" he said Wednesday.
The former caregiver declined to comment on Wednesday.
Her daycare, which was not licensed, was forced to shut down.
The woman has been released from custody on a promise to appear in court. She is banned from providing care to anyone under the age of 16 unless accompanied by another adult.
Daughter answered the door
Police have not released details about what happened that day, except to say a parent went to the daycare to retrieve one of the children but found no response at the door.
The father said the door was eventually opened by his daughter, who was four years old at the time. She told the parent at the door that the children were alone, he said.
"I asked her, like, what happened and she said somebody was knocking [on the] door [for] 10 minutes," he said.
The dad said he believes it wasn't the first time the children were left alone at the daycare, and he wants the caregiver to take responsibility for what happened.
"I was shocked. Even if it's like 15 minutes or 10 minutes … we are paying for them and she shouldn't leave, even for five minutes," he said.
The father said he trusted the caregiver, even though she had warned him her daycare was not licensed and she accepted cash payments only, because his family was new to the area and they needed to find child care right away.
"I'm ready to pay extra cash if you want, but you have to take good care of my daughter," he said.
The man said his daughter is now going to a licensed daycare in the area.