The parents of one of five children left at a Calgary day home are demanding answers as to why their son, and the others, were left unsupervised for more than an hour on Thursday.
Ben Carrier and Maria Cristofaro’s son managed to get out of the Over the Rainbow Dayhome in northeast Calgary and run to a next-door neighbour’s house to ask for help.
A day later, the couple is still processing the reality of what happened to their son, who was in the hands of someone they say they trusted to care for their child when they were at work.
“I think that more than anything, it’s just, it’s really sad and disheartening that you, as parents, you trust somebody else to look after your child or children. And you never expect this sort of call,” Carrier said.
Carrier was at work when he got a call from the police telling him his son was in their care, and he needed to come pick him up at the day home right away.
“You never expect any sort of call from the police about it, but you certainly don’t expect to get one that your day home provider’s just taken off and is not there.
“I mean, there’s so much that could happen in that time, whether it’s five minutes, or whether it’s an hour.”
Calgary police said the day home operator, who is now the subject of a criminal investigation in relation to the incident, left the home “briefly,” but didn’t expand on why.
According to the provincial Department of Children’s Services and Public Engagement, the Over the Rainbow Dayhome is not a licensed day home and therefore doesn’t fall under provincial regulations.
“This is a law enforcement matter and I can’t provide any further comment,” communications director Nancy Bishay said in an emailed statement.
Neighour recounts shock at incident
Nate Pike was sitting on his front porch chatting with a friend when he said the boy came over crying and asked for help.
In doorbell camera video from his front door, a frightened little boy can be heard saying “there isn’t anyone there,” as he points next door.
“What he told me when he first came over was that the person who ran his day home had an appointment to go to, and so she had tied the door shut in one of the rooms and left to him and four or five other kids in that room,” Pike told Global News Friday.
“And he said that he’s very small, so he managed to squeeze through the space in the door that he was able to create. And then he knew he had to find a grown-up.”
Pike said his immediate reaction was one of shock, and then he immediately called 911 and tried his best to console the boy.
“You could tell that he was very sad, you could tell that he was very scared,” Pike said.
“He didn’t understand what was going on. And he clearly didn’t understand why this series of events that had happened to him and the other kids that he’s used to spending his days with.”
Pike is a paramedic, and is used to helping people through crisis situations. He said he and the boy played Nintendo until things settled down and his parents came to pick him up.
“The fact that this was able to happen — I would like to see some higher standards for how these things operate. Because I mean, as we’ve seen, clearly there there are circumstances that put people’s kids at very, very real risk.”
— With files from Global News’ Lauren Pullen, Christa Dao