JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 2-year-old boy remains in critical condition after police say he was pulled from a Westside pool at an unlicensed day care Tuesday.
The Department of Children and Families is investigating in the near drowning of Steven Spurlock, but so far the owners have not been fined or charged with any crime.
According to city records, the house in the 8300 block of Ireland Drive is owned by the Buchanan family. They did not answer the door at the home Wednesday and declined comment on the phone.
DCF spokesman John Harrell said 13 children were enrolled in the day care, though seven were being cared for in the house Tuesday. DCF issued a cease and desist order for the day care Wednesday.
Harrell said investigators found the pool gate was latched but not locked. As for home day cares, state law says residents can take care of their own children, children from their immediate family, and children from one other family. Any others requires a license.
"We are urging all parents, please do not send your children to unlicensed facilities and homes because you are putting your children at risk," Harrell said. "This is a terrible situation that happened yesterday."
For many families, paying for the care is difficult. The executive director of the Early Learning Coalition of Duval, which helps families find good day cares in Jacksonville, said there are 1,200 providers in town.
"We have providers in our community that will offer reduced rates for families that have some challenges," Susan Main said. "We have a lot of childcare providers who are more than willing to try and work with the family for good child care."