West Side day care center shut down as infant death investigation continues

August 8, 2013 2:56:08 PM PDT
The Department of Children and Family Services is investigating allegations of neglect at a day care in the 4200-block of West Wilcox.

One-year-old Tyla Carter died on Tuesday. An autopsy on Wednesday was inconclusive. Medical examiners are still trying to figure out how the girl died.

A sign hangs in the window, "In business since 1999." While it was licensed under a different name for several years, the Family and Friends Daycare has been licensed with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for more than a year.

"We took immediate steps to notify parents of four remaining children at the center and issued a cease operation until the investigation is complete," said Dave Clarkin, DCFS.

Until Tyla Carter's death, DCFS has not received any complaints about Family and Friends since it was licensed last year.

"Kids are 40 more times likely to be abused by a grandparent or babysitter than in one of those facilities," Clarkin said.

While day care deaths are rare, the number of children killed in Illinois by abuse or neglect is not so rare, especially during the last fiscal year that ended June 30.

"The department has seen a record number of child death reports last year. Three-fourths of the reports involved families with no previous reports of abuse or neglect," Clarkin said.

DCFS says of the 223 suspicious deaths, 94 involved abuse or neglect. That number is likely to go up because 45 cases are still pending. DCFS says the number one cause are infant deaths involves suffocation while children sleep in their parents bed. The second cause are abuse cases involving fatal beatings.

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