The Department of Defense has ordered for an investigation into unauthorized daycares after a baby died at a base in Honolulu, Hawaii. The baby girl passed away while her parents were at work—a true nightmare for any working parent. The military condemns the operation of illegal daycares, and they’re taking measures to stop their operation.
On February 24th, 7-month-old Abigail Lobisch died while she was under the care of a Navy wife who was operating an unlicensed daycare. After the autopsy, authorities found that she died due to an overdose of antihistamine; levels of the drug found in her body were toxic. Police then arrested her caregiver, Dixie Denise Villa, on July 20th, and she was charged with manslaughter.
The unauthorized daycare was operating from a privatized housing complex at the Aliamanu Military Reservation in Hawaii. It is part of the US Army Garrison in the state. Upon further investigation, authorities found that Villa’s daycare was given two cease orders months prior to the baby girl’s death. Because of this, the Department of Defense is taking steps to ensure another tragic death like hers can be avoided. It all starts with being consistent with how the daycares are dealt with.
The Department of Defense has a specific, written-out instruction for family childcare providers: Instruction 6060.02. It states that homes must be approved by the installation commander, and they have to go through thorough home inspections and staff training. Providing childcare services in military housing is forbidden, unless the home meets certain requirements and is approved by the installation’s commander. For the children’s safety, authorities are to shut down any illegally operating daycares on site.
The main issue with shutting down these daycares is the repercussions given to the providers. In Lobisch’s case, her caregiver was given two cease orders already, yet the operation of her daycare didn’t stop. Due to this, the department re-evaluating the procedures they have when it comes to shutting down unauthorized daycares. The offending individual could also be evicted as punishment, but this would require more thorough procedures in order not to make matters worse. While there is a lack of childcare providers in certain locations, the military cannot allow unauthorized ones to keep running. From what we learned, doing so has severe consequences.