KinderCare said it was grateful the child was OK, and that the child was in the care of a certified state child care worker during the duration, believed to be about an hour.
“How does this even happen?" Tiffany McCullough, the child's mother, said. "I lost my mind. I was like, 'Where is my child?' Like, are you kidding me?"
McCullough says a family friend arrived at the day care last Friday afternoon to pick up her 5-year-old daughter, Aria, only to find out Aria had already left with the DCF worker.
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“I’m getting a call saying, 'Don’t freak out, but your daughter was mistaken for another Aria,'" McCullough said.
Although KinderCare said McCullough's daughter was returned within the hour, the child's grandmother, Lana Leonard, said the damage had already been done.
"I said, 'What did you do?' [Aria] said, 'They took me and gave me toys to play with,'" Leonard said. "I said, 'Were you scared? You didn’t know this lady.' She said, 'Yeah, Nana. I was very scared.'"
Leonard said the whole situation was "unacceptable" and was left looking for answers.
"There's no excuse," Leonard said. "There's no excuse at all."
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KinderCare said it is taking the matter seriously, and is working with the DCF to prevent any further misunderstandings in the future.
“I don’t want to see another kid go through what she had to go through," McCullough said.
The Department of Children and Families said it "received a report and is investigating."
KinderCare's full statement can be read below:
"On Friday our center received notice that two children, who have the same first name, would each be picked up by a new person that day. One child was supposed to go with a DCF worker and the other was to go with a family friend. When the DCF worker arrived, there was a misunderstanding about which of the two children the worker was there for and the worker ended up taking the wrong child. As soon as our staff realized this mistake, they immediately called the DCF office and the child’s mother. The DCF worker returned the child to the center within the hour.
"While we’re thankful that the child was safe, and in the care of someone who is certified to care for children, we take this situation seriously. We reported this incident to DCF and to licensing on Friday. We’re working with DCF to see what we can do to prevent any further misunderstandings."