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Baby who died at unlicensed day care gets headstone

Posted: 6:27 PM, Jun 20, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-20 22:57:29Z
Baby who died at day care gets headstone
Baby who died at day care gets headstone

INDIANAPOLIS -- A five month old baby who died at a suspected illegal child care operation is finally getting a headstone.

Kyle Davis-Ferguson stopped breathing on February 16 inside a home on Elmonte Court. He later died at a hospital.

This week, He Knows Your Name ministry, donated a gravestone to Kyle.

Founder Linda Znachko said she did it to help Kyle’s mother and siblings.

“I really did it for her, and it’s just such a multiplied blessing to see the kids talking to the headstone and saying how much they miss their brother and love him,” said Znachko. “I can’t explain what this does when it comes to providing a place to come grieve, a place to remember, a place to honor. I just get to stand back and watch it and it’s beautiful.”

The Indiana Attorney General’s office filed court documents to stop the suspected illegal home child care operation on Elmonte Court.

Documents show Kyle was in an unsafe sleep environment on the bottom bunk of a bunk bed.

Mischa Bennett, a convicted felon, was watching Kyle and about nine other children at her home on Elmonte Court on February 16, according to court documents.

When inspectors stopped by May 30, no children were at the home, according to Jeremy Brilliant, spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office.

Marion County prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges in baby Kyle’s death.

Znachko said Kyle’s mother is still struggling to find answers on what happened.

The ministry has donated more than 100 headstones in eight states.

“It’s a blessing to me to provide headstones to families who are longing to bring closure to their grief,” said Znachko. “They long to have a place to visit. They don’t want to come and stare at the grass.”

Kyle’s headstone is valued at more than $600.

RELATED | Police: 5-month old boy's death appears accidental | State orders child care to stop illegal operation after infant's death

Mischa Bennett did not have a license to operate a child care home, according to the state.

In Indiana, you need a license to operate a child care home if you care for six or more children who are not related to you.

RELATED | Call 6: Mother speaks out after toddler injured by older child while at day care

HOW TO CHECK A CHILD CARE FACILITY:
• Plug in a provider's name to ChildCareFinder.IN.gov and look for complaints, inspection reports and any pending enforcement
• Use your eyes and ears when visiting. Are they following safe sleep? Is equipment working? Are children strapped into their high chairs?
• Drop by the child's day care unexpectedly during the day. What is seen at pickup and drop off may be very different than what's happening during the middle of the day
• Ask to see the provider's license or registration, which should be posted in a public area. If the provider is on probation, it will say so on the license, along with the reasons why.
• Ask to see a copy of the day care's discipline policy. Corporal punishment is not illegal in the state of Indiana
• Ask what their current child-to-staff ratio is. Experts say accidents are more likely to happen when staffers are watching a lot of children.
• Ask if the provider is part of the state's voluntary rating system, called Paths to Quality. The state said this helps guarantee they're meeting and/or exceeding licensing requirements regardless of type of day care
• If you use an unlicensed facility, know they do not have to submit to background checks, CPR training, safe sleep training and other requirements. Ask to see proof your provider has completed these.
• For more information, go to ChildCareIndiana.org