Earlier this week, Colorado Springs, Colorado, day care owner Carla Faith, 58, was charged with child abuse and attempt to influence a public servant after 26 toddlers were found behind a false wall at Faith’s day care facility last month.
The day care attached as a secondary building from Faith’s home underwent a welfare check on Nov. 13 when authorities came across two adults and more than 20 children under the age of three. The search began after a series of complaints that Faith “was housing more children in their care than their licensed allowed,” the City of Colorado Springs said in a statement.
Colorado Springs officer Janel Langdon-Issac discovered the children and two adults in the basement of Faith’s home after hearing children’s music, despite Faith denying of having a lower ground floor, according to ABC affiliate KRDO.
During the search, Officer Jordan Parker bumped into a wall and felt it move, KRDO reported. When Officer Parker pushed against the wall, authorities discovered a stairwell leading to a finished basement area.
“I spend a minute or two in my car with a tear in my eye because I’m trusting somebody else,” said Ethan Steinberg, an uncle of an enrolled child, in an interview with KRDO. “ It took about an hour until [police] realized where the kids were and that breaks my heart because I don’t know if my niece was down there.”
KRDO also reports that Faith was caught in a similar situation during the late '90s but in California.
"It's just not something that's part of our application process, nor do we really have the authority to require that information,” said Erin Mewhinney, the Division Director Of Early Childhood Care and Learning, in an interview with KRDO. “We’re working with the state board of human services to allow the department the authority to require child abuse and neglect records from other states of an applicant is coming in from another state."
Faith's day care license only permitted her to care for up to six children between the ages of zero and 13, more specifically, only two of these children could be under the age of two, according to an affidavit obtained by KRDO.
“It’s so hard to trust your children with people and we felt we could really trust them,” said parent Jeanette Conde to KRDO. “ I’m completely betrayed, every parent that I’ve talked to, we all feel completely betrayed.”