Unlicensed Omaha daycare owner denies neglect allegations

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Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 8:41 AM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The owner of an unlicensed Omaha daycare denies allegations of neglect and says she’ll fight a police citation in court.

Some parents support the childcare provider while others voice concerns.

Front door greetings that in-home daycare provider Mallory Maynard claims are proof she didn’t leave a client’s infant twins home alone.

”The video proves there was an adult here because how else would a daycare mom come into my door with the door locked,” Maynard said.

But Maynard has been cited for two counts of child neglect after a witness reported the infants in car seats left alone for an hour in a room.

“The kids were not left alone because my kid’s dad was here.”

But the daycare operator admits to not being right with the state.

“DHHS has told me I need to get my license and I have been working on getting my license. I did sign a form saying ‘hey I’m not going to be watching so many kids.’”

State law requires a license for an in-home childcare facility if the provider cares for more than three children who are not their own.

“She had way more than three, way more than three,” said parent Abbie Donaldson.

Donaldson no longer uses that daycare after learning it’s unlicensed.

“Yes, you should very much know the rules. If you are running a daycare you should know the laws of how many children you can have in your facility and in your care.”

Maynard says she’s reduced the number of kids in her care by rotating them. When young ones are picked up, Sara Blesi’s three boys come here after school knowing it’s an unlicensed daycare.

”My kids are older, she’s a good sitter I trust her and my kids trust her, and my kids have said nothing bad about her,” said parent Sara Blesi.

Former client Lexi Ponce says it’s not just a license parents should ask about, but also insurance.

“It’s our kid yes, but why should we have to pay for an incident that happened in someone else’s care that we trusted to keep our child safe,” Ponce said.

While playing with other children, two-and-a-half-year-old Lorenzo Ponce fell down the stairs causing a head injury that is healing after treatment.

“All three of our doctors: pediatrician, ER doc, and neurologist said we are very lucky he didn’t snap his neck on that fall,” Lexi Ponce said. “What have medical bills added up to so far, so far between $1500 and $2,000.”

“I will offer my insurance if they want it to cover their expenses,” Maynard said.

The daycare owner says she fired a new employee for being on the phone and not watching the kids when the injury occurred.

The city prosecutor says he is reviewing a police report on the incident.

The daycare provider says despite her past confusion with the rules and recent accusations, she’ll continue with the application process for a license to open this daycare in Millard.

Maynard plans to open in about a month with background-checked staff to care for 75 children. But for this daycare, she’ll need to have a license.

“I’m going to keep moving forward and prove everybody wrong and get my license.”

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services says childcare law violations are handled by the county or city prosecutor. The agency can file an injunction against unlicensed operators but none are on record for this daycare provider.