Stamford day care owner accused of leaving children home alone
STAMFORD — A private day care provider has been accused of leaving six children alone in her Strawberry Hill home for about a half an hour while she ran an errand.
Bernanie “Bernie” Jean-Louis, 49, has been charged with six counts of risk of injury to a minor after police say a state Department of Children and Families employee discovered the children — ranging in age from 11 months to 11 years old — were alone Monday afternoon in the Wenzel Terrace home day care.
Sgt. Robert Shawinsky said the social worker was checking on a child under Jean-Louis’ care and called police around 4:15 p.m. after not seeing an adult for nearly half an hour while she was at the day care.
Jean-Louis, who has run Bernie’s Kiddys for 14 years, told the Stamford Advocate on Tuesday that the children were left unsupervised for only about a minute.
Jean-Louis said she left the children with her 21-year-old daughter while she went to the pharmacy. Jean-Louis said her daughter called and told her she needed to leave for work. Jean-Louis told the Advocate the children were only alone for the brief time it took her to drive about 200 yards from the traffic light on Hope Street to her Wenzel Terrace home.
However, Shawinsky said the DCF worker reported she was inside the house for 25 minutes before Jean-Louis returned.
The children were picked up by their parents and Jean-Louis, who is free on $5,000 bond, said she voluntarily closed the day care on Tuesday.
Jean-Louis’ day care has been registered with the state since 2004 with one violation reported in July 2016 for not having all of the children’s medical release forms, according to the Office of Early Childhood. The state’s last unannounced visit to Bernie’s Kiddys was on Feb. 16.
Maggie Adair, director of government and community relations for the state Office of Early Childhood, said an investigation is being conducted into this week’s incident.