COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — The parents of 19 children believed to have been neglected at the Play Mountain Place Daycare in Colorado Springs are now suing the owner for failing to uphold a duty to protect the children and provide them with reasonable care.
The lawsuit filed in district court in Colorado Springs earlier this week seeks damages, interest, fees and further relief from Carla Faith that the court deems appropriate.
Erin Miles is one of the plaintiffs. She enrolled her daughter earlier this year. Miles said she doesn't know what trauma her daughter might have experienced and sees the litigation as means to uncovering that harm.
"I know my daughter has exhibited some anxiety, what seems to me to be anxious behavior, and I'm hoping that a therapist, a psychologist can help us understand how we can deal with that and how we can help her," Miles said.
Colin MacWilliams' son was injured twice while in Faith's care. On separate occasions, he fractured an elbow and cut his lower lip deep enough to need stitches.
"You know, she mentioned that he fell off of a slide or something like that, or on the stairs to the slide. And the other one, I think he just fell walking across the carpet or something like that," he said.
MacWilliams said he defended Faith, even after her license was suspended. He changed his opinion after learning that she'd previously had violations in California for operating day cares with more children than allowed. That history was not publicly available to parents in Colorado Springs when researching Play Mountain Place.
"We need to have some measure that stops these things from happening again, because no parent needs to go through this," McWilliams said.
Faith also watched Amanda Gaden's daughter a few years ago. It wasn't until after the daycare was shuttered last month that she started to grasp what her daughter may have experienced.
"There's so much I just didn't see at the time and looking back now it just makes me sick, it just makes me sick."
For example, the crying fits at drop off time.
"Everybody tells you that's normal, they cry and they scream and that's normal," Gaden said.
But then her daughter, 2-years-old at the time, had trouble sleeping at night and started pulling out her own hair.
"We talked to a pediatrician who said that it was probably trauma or stress or anxiety, but we had no reason to think that there was any trauma or stress or anxiety."
The lawsuit states that Faith housed 26 children in the home, more than triple the number she was licensed to care for. Authorities discovered a false wall which hid the entrance to a crawlspace where many of the kids were kept to avoid observation by state inspectors and other parents.
Gaden enrolled her daughter with Faith so that she could return to the workforce, but said she never would have made such a decision if she knew what was happening there.
"There is no amount of money that I could make at a job that would be worth you putting my child in a pack and play in a low ceiling dark basement and letting her cry it out until she gets so upset she rips all the hair out of the top of her head."
A criminal investigation into the treatment of children at Play Mountain Place is still underway by the Colorado Springs Police Department.
News 5 left two voice messages for Faith on different phone numbers and also visited Play Mountain Place in person. We were unable to make contact to get her side of the story.