News 4 Investigates: History of daycare safety hard to find in Missouri

Bows 'n Bullfrogs Children Center (Credit: KMOV)

( – Is the state failing to inform parents of past problems at local daycares? That’s the question a parent is asking after she says something disturbing happened to her son.

“You have no idea what you are putting your child into,” said Kathie Brueggemann, a mother.

Kathie Brueggemann thought she had done her homework before enrolling her 1-year-old son in the Bows ‘n Bullfrogs daycare in Union, Missouri.

News 4 Investigative Reporter Lauren Trager says the state's website shows only minor violations.

With few other options, Brueggemann says she trusted the state's information.

"I was totally failed,” said Brueggemann.

Within just a few weeks, Brueggemann says she started noticing signs about her son.

“He would cry uncontrollably in the mornings that he did not want to attend school, he did not want to go,” said Brueggemann.

She says her son was getting constant stomach aches and even vomited at school. She believes he was forced to eat and she says her son was bullied.

“I would not want any child to go through what my son went through. It traumatized him. He was scared to death to go to this place. He was scared to eat,” said Brueggemann.

After her son's concerning behavior started, the mother did even more digging.

She stumbled on a News 4 Investigation from 2008 outlining extremely disturbing allegations against Bows ‘n Bullfrogs.

A child was forced to stand naked in a bathroom for hours, covered in feces.

The News 4 Investigation revealed numerous other complaints about the daycare, dating back into the 1990s.

It was information Brueggemann didn't have because it's not on the state's website.

“I think that's ridiculous,” said Brueggemann.

Trager discovered that the state's website even acknowledges that it doesn't include a facility's full records. Inspection reports online only go back to 2013 and substantiated complaints only go back to 2015.

“I think the state needs to find a way to make this information accessible to parents by just looking up the daycare facility,” said Brueggemann.

Advocates agree that there should be a better way.

“Finding information about early child care and education in Missouri is very challenging,” said Dr. L. Carol Scott with Child Care Aware.

Scott says it would be difficult for the state to put all historic information on the website. That's why she says the state needs a child care rating and improvement system, something that, until very recently, had actually been outlawed in Missouri.

“We don't have any way to compare facilities because we don't have a system of rating with one star, two star,” said Dr. Scott.

Trager found out the state revoked Bows ‘n Bullfrogs’ license when the 2008 incident occurred, but a court reversed that decision.

“I know about the allegation and I have no comment,” said the owner of Bows ‘n Bullfrogs.

Brueggemann says she just wants to make sure other parents have the knowledge they need.

Brueggemann says she has filed a complaint with the state, but the state tells News 4 they cannot comment.

The state declined to talk on camera but a spokesperson says if you want more info about your child's facility, you can always make specific requests by contacting your local child care regulation office.

After a records request for example, News 4 learned Bows ‘n Bullfrogs has not had a substantiated complaint since 2008.

A quality rating system is being set up in Missouri after Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill. But you will not see the system in place for at least three years. For more information, click here.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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