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Cardenas Family: Wesley Child Care Was ‘Grossly Negligent’

Following the June 15 drowning of 4-year-old Vicente Cardenas, the Glenview Police Department has released its report of the investigation. Here, Vicente’s uncle shares the Cardenas family’s reaction to the ‘easily prevented’ tragedy.

Dear Editor,

, and having familiarized myself with it, I would like to relate to your readers the following sentiment:

Wesley had no responsible plan in place for ensuring that such a tragedy would not happen. 

Related:

Wesley should not have taken little children to such a large and crowded swimming pool in the first place – and at a minimum, given how crowded it was that day, Wesley staff should have realized upon arrival that they could not reasonably keep track of all the children and should have left. 

Wesley did not have a policy of wearing life vests for non-swimmers, unlike other organizations. 

Related:

Although they had 7 or 8 staff members at the pool, shockingly Wesley did not assign a small manageable number of children to each adult.  Instead, each adult was tasked with watching all 18 children – that is an absurd allocation of responsibility – no one person can keep track of 18 children in a crowded swimming pool and having each adult watch all 18 children meant that one child could slip away without being noticed by any of the adults.  

They didn’t even have a policy of same-color shirts or swimming caps, which would have enabled them to easily identify a child in case he wandered off. Wesley obviously had no rational or responsible plan for dealing with a missing child.

Related: 

When a Wesley staff member discovered that Vicente was missing, she first informed other staff members and then they went about searching for him – what they should have done is immediately RUN to a lifeguard, report a 4-year old child missing, and have the pool emptied. Instead, they wasted valuable time while Vicente drowned.

The police report demonstrates that Wesley was grossly negligent in safeguarding little Vicente, and that negligence spans from Wesley’s executive director (and anyone else who sets policy there) all the way down to each staff member who was present at the pool that day (since each was tasked with watching all of the children). 

This is a tragedy that could have been easily prevented had Wesley used half a brain in planning this dangerous activity. I truly hope that other caregivers learn a lesson from Wesley’s irresponsible actions.

Sincerely, 

Val Gurvits
Cardenas Family Spokesperson

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Harry Gio August 31, 2012 at 02:21 PM
THE GLENVIEW POLICE DEPARTMENT IS THE SIZE OF A COLLEGE NOW, SO DO YOU MEAN THAT THEY DON'T HAVE AN INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT SOFISTICATED ENOUGH TO SEE IF THE WESLEY CHILD CARE STAFF MEMBER WAS ---ON HER iPHONE--- CHECKING HER FACEBOOK ? ---SOMEONE NEEDS TO RE-OPEN THAT CASE BY CONTACTING ALL WESLEY CHILD CARE STAFF MEMBERS' CELL PHONE PROVIDERS FOR """DETAILED""" BILLING STATEMENTS..............................
A Concerned Parent August 31, 2012 at 08:47 PM
One of the teachers mentioned specifically that Vicente was prone to wandering off - more the reason to keep a closer eye on him specifically. Then again, all 4-5 year olds can be distracted by anything, just another reason each teacher should have been assigned specific children to focus on. They neglected to utilize measures that had worked in previous field trips (as I've mentioned I was on the field trip to Lincoln Park Zoo and that is how it was handled 2-1 ratio).
A Glenview Parent September 01, 2012 at 03:19 PM
The dark truth of the Wesley response is that "on paper" it would appear that Wesley is doing everything it possibly can to assist the Cardenas family. It is reasonable to assume that Wesley has made daily calls to the family to offer help, maybe send over a meal, set up a memorial fund. right? The truth is Wesley handed the parents back their son's personal items, sanitized the center from his ever attending and then, upon the direction of their attorneys, never communicated with the Cardenas family again. I am not making this up. It should give us all pause.
A Glenview Parent September 01, 2012 at 03:19 PM
In my prior comment, I do not mean to suggest the Wesley staff is not in agony over this, I merely wanted to point out the consequences of what happens when a good group of people (Wesley) suddenly find themselves doing more harm by additionally devastating the Cardenas family with the silence.
Kelly K September 04, 2012 at 05:55 PM
I can't imagine how maddening it must be for the Cardenas family being treated so poorly by Wesley after it was Wesley's fault that this even happened in the first place! I don't have any kids but if I did, there's no way I'd let them go there now, knowing that they employ such incompetent workers to care for the children!

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