Parents Push DCFS to Suspend Wesley License

A group of about 12 Wesley families—who had children at Roosevelt Pool the day of Vicente Cardenas’ drowning— have initiated a petition to suspend the childcare center’s license.

While , DCFS is still looking into ’s operations and the June 15 drowning of 4-year-old Vicente Cardenas, according to investigators.


A group of about 12 Wesley families are in the process of petitioning DCFS to suspend Wesley’s license pending completion of the investigation, explained a Patch reader and Wesley parent who asked not to be named to protect the privacy of their children.

“We realize this will cause upheaval to those who have their children in the center’s daycare and for those who attend the various after-school programs in Glenview,” the parent told Patch. “However, without knowing the safety of this center, it was imperative we take this action.”


"Coincidentally," the parent added, "Wesley is currently up for license renewal."

has also been notified of the petition, the source explained, as Wesley currently runs after school programs at Henking, Lyon, Westbrook, Pleasant Ridge, Hoffman and Glen Grove Schools. 

The same parent urging others to share information about their Wesley experiences with the Department of Child and Family Services. 

“Many of us have been sitting on the sidelines, grieving for the Cardenas family, frustrated with the silence, and wondering what we can do to help,” the letter said.

 during the pending investigation. 

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Concerned Parent October 19, 2012 at 09:03 PM
I completely agree with you... what a injustice to the Cardenas family that this center continues to operate business as normal as if nothing happened. I know many associated with Wesley are hoping the community will forget due to so much time passing. Add to that DCFS dragging their feet and no further look into the negligence of this center criminally I am truly disgusted. I pray for resolution soon.
elizabeth brandt October 19, 2012 at 09:16 PM
I don't know why anyone assumes that Wesley is just continuing as if nothing happened. This was a devastating tragedy for the Cardenas. Don't you relize that it is also a devastating tragedy for the teachers who loved Vicente and everyone at Wesly? These are all human beings. People are trying to categorize Wesley as some kind of careless, heartless institution. That is just wrong, wrong, wrong. This was a horrible accident and you'd better believe that everyone involves agonizes over it every day and has done a great deal of soul searching. That includes people who run that organization. They screwed up and it had tragic consequences, but to have a mob mentality and look for someone to blame while painting the Wesley staff as demons does everyone a disservice.
A Concerned Parent October 19, 2012 at 09:57 PM
I think the heartless part comes from their inability/lack of willingness to tell the family specifics about Vicente's day (NOT about the tragedy). Vicente's uncle has mentioned it numerous times in the past how little information was given to the family in the wake of the tragedy. Personally, I was disappointed in the PD investigation, many questions weren't asked and a few times they fed information to the witnesses. I disagree with the accident view, an accident is a kid falling and bumping his knee, but when you are dealing with 4-5 year olds in a pool it's NEGLIGENCE.
A Concerned Parent November 15, 2012 at 10:29 PM
5 months and still nothing from DCFS? Did I miss the release of the report? Does anyone know if the family heard anything? I feel so bad for the family, starting with Halloween, the holidays must be so tough, especially the first year. (not that it ever gets easier, though)
G. Pintang November 15, 2012 at 10:56 PM
I hope the teachers at Wesley are enjoying the holiday season. I am sure the Cardenas family is not. I hope at the very least, they think about that family all day as they enjoy the holiday with their loved ones.
A Glenview Parent November 16, 2012 at 04:05 PM
It is my understanding the DCFS investigation is over. There are 2 reports. One is sealed, understandably, for the privacy of the Cardenas Family and another is available through the Freedom of Information Act against Wesley. In the latter, the center was sited for its failure to prevent the death. They were instructed to cease all water activities ( I think indefinitely) and pre-school director, Jeanne Harman, was either forced to go on leave of absence or elected to do so. It reads as a combination of both. There are more sobering details of a sad day.
A Concerned Parent November 16, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Stan, Any chance you could request and publish the report? I think it is imperative that the facts of this tragedy that DCFS found be laid out so all can see. My son was in Vicente's class and Wesley failed to even inform us of what happened that day - we had to hear it from another parent.
A Concerned Parent #2 November 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I changed my e-mail address, but I previously posted under A Concerned Parent. Having requested and read the report, I agree, A Glenview Parent, some pretty sobering things in the report. A few quick things that stood out to me, 1) While a signed permission slip for swimming was presented, not ONCE during all the interviews, both police or DCFS, was it asked if they knew whether or not Vicente could swim, 2) "although the Medical Examiner ruled it as 'drowning by accident' it does not mean there was no neglect/inadequate supervision that took place." and 3) "it is possible that the teachers intentionally did not pay close attention to him in the pool".
A Glenview Parent December 12, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I just heard Wesley’s insurance company has determined Wesley, its teachers and staff, were in no part responsible for the death of little Vicente Cardenas. Despite the chill crawling up the back of my spine I must have been wrong to assume that when you leave your child with a day care center, they might have to be responsible for your child. I was wrong. Apologies to all the other parents who also shared in the “its not Wesley’s responsibility.” It must give you great comfort to know the center will not be held responsible for the safety of your children.
A Concerned Parent #2 December 12, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Obviously they (the insurance company) didn't read either the police report or the DCFS report, because both of those scream negligence. Amazingly they (Wesley) contradicted themselves from what they told the police and what they told DCFS - heck they changed their story in the DCFS report. First all we heard was that no one teacher was responsible for any student - it was a group responsibility - by the end of the DCFS report they specifically identified one teacher being responsible. This whole thing has been a mockery of a sham!
A Glenview Parent December 13, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Their insurance company may have closed the case on this but Karma, the Glenview Community, and the United States legal system are about to come crashing down on this center.
A Glenview Parent December 14, 2012 at 06:46 PM
BK- your comments are not only quite overdramatic but way off base. However, you are entitled to them. I encourage you to also focus on PREVENTION. Good luck to you.
A Glenview Parent December 14, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Dear BK, I do not want to insult your intelligence with a quick response so I'll indulge your rather insincere and somewhat immature question. Anyone who knows me or my family, our direct involvement with this tragedy, and to the lengths many of us have gone to ensure the Cardenas family gets not only the truth but some comfort from that truth, in addition to working with Illinois legislators on prevention measures, knows it is our wish that Wesley Child Care Center be made accountable and take responsibility for its involvement of caring for Vicente that day. There were other children there that day, mine included, and this could have happened to any one of them. I would do the same if it were your children lost that day and I’m guessing you might appreciate the support. But then again, I may be wrong. I’ve been shocked, disgusted and surprised at some of the responses here. But what really amazes me is the lack of outcry from parents who, instead, view this as an inconvenience rather than for what it truly is... A preventable loss of a young boy’s life.
sjones December 14, 2012 at 09:07 PM
My child was there and was friends with Vicente. It could have been my child, and I am haunted by that fact as I am haunted by thoughts of Vicente and his family. I know who the teacher who turned to answer a small child's question and, therefore, did not see when Vicente left the area and went into the deeper end. The teacher is a mother of a very young child and a boundlessly loving and caring woman. She loved Vicente and loved all of the children she cared for. This was a tragic mistake and any parent who thinks it could not have happened to them is fooling themselves. Punishing this woman or Wesley will not bring Vicente back. The school has already examined every aspect of that day and how to safely proceed going forward. I will never understand why otherwise reasonable people look for someone or some organization to demonize in the face of tragedies. I understand the horror and rage that this could happen. I will never understand how people lose sight of the fact that this was a tragedy for everybody involved. Don't lose your humanity and forget that that teacher has to live with this for the rest of her life, as do the Cardenas's. Trust me, Wesley has not gotten off unscathed just because the center hasn't been closed down.
sjones December 14, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Also, it is important to note that legally, the word negligence implies that one should have known there would be a drowning and did not prevent it. SOme will think this was negligence, some will not. But when discussing it, at least be aware that tragic mistakes and negligence are not the same thing.
A Glenview Mom December 14, 2012 at 10:29 PM
BK- after reading your comments I'm more scared of you than a parent who's trying to help. You are obviously angry but at the wrong person. Its simple math. Child goes to day care + tragic preventable event = outraged parents. Its legitimate and I’m blown away to see how parents would love to just sweep this under the rug. If the insurance company has decided there is no blame on the center, then who is to blame? The little boy? Please don’t answer because from what I’ve read, you’d probably say yes.
A Glenview Mom December 14, 2012 at 10:36 PM
sjones- you are wrong. negligence means "a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances." I for one would not expect my day care provider to not have one teacher assigned to my child. Especially at a swimming pool! Sombody, or some stupid policy, is to blame and i hope the center doesn't get away with it.
Anonymous Screamer December 14, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Why so much vitriol? Nothing any of you says here really has any bearing on this case does it? Why not spare everyone the screaming match and just agree to disagree and move on. I'm sure there's more you could be doing for either party involved in this case than arguing on internet message boards. Your time and energy are best spent elsewhere.
A Glenview Mom December 14, 2012 at 11:08 PM
i'm sorry BK but aren't you the same BK who said "I'm sitting here, SHAKING, wondering if a crazed parent like yourself (a glenview parent) is going to take revenge on Wesley." are you insane? i agree with you that policy should change but you can't just move on without owning up for the failures.
A Glenview Mom December 14, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Anonymous Screamer- i agree with you. i've just been watching this play out online and i keep seeing parents trying to share information and then get attacked for being angry about the death of a child. they have every right to be angry, and to share that anger here. as long as its constructive and gets people to think then it can only help. BKs comments just sickened me thats all.
Hilary December 15, 2012 at 07:54 PM
BK - I know all of this hit close to home for you - so I didnt interpret your comments as if you didnt care about the situation. You said on another board that you were looking into why IL laws were so lax on pool safety. What did you find out? What are the pending changes at Roosevelt pool? Glenview Parent/Mom in Glenview - Did you not leave your child as Wesley after reporting them to DCS? You accused Wesley of abusing your child and then left her there for a month right? Is that not insane?
A Glenview Parent December 16, 2012 at 05:42 PM
sjones- I know the teachers who were there that day. I know each to be responsible, caring, and each has an amazing ability to engage and connect with the children. All of the Wesley staff does. Under the conditions of that day and guided by the Wesley pool policy, each of those teachers had little or no chance to prevent the loss. That is the core issue here. This isn't about having a reckless disregard for children but for Wesley to have assessed the crowded situation at the pool and then made sure they could account for every child at every second. My heart breaks for the teacher, who is an amazing woman, who had last sight of Vicente and I don't think it was her fault. She was taking care of a group of kids as she was instructed to. It was the policy that failed. This isn't about punishing any of the teachers. This is about holding those who were in charge of mandating the pool policy that failed. Take responsibility for their part of the tragedy, learn from it, make better policy and then move on. The outrage comes from their continued denials to accept any blame. Not even in the slightest.
A Glenview Parent December 16, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Hilary- I did. Our family reported something that had happened, at least twice, to my child and another boy. I cannot comment on what is is for legal reasons but can tell you even though both teachers involved apologized, they, and the preschool director, denied to authorities, any knowledge of it ever occurring...at all... We did not get that denial until Oct and because the teachers apologized at the time, the pre-schoo director promised to never let it happen again, we didn't feel our child was in any danger.
Bruce P. December 17, 2012 at 08:02 PM
what an awful thing to accuse somebody of BK. You can't even compare these two tragedies.
Bruce P. December 17, 2012 at 08:06 PM
A GLENVIEW PARENT, what do you mean they denied it? Also it seems pretty clear here that some parents just want to bury their heads in the sand on this death. Pretty sad.
A Concerned Parent #2 December 19, 2012 at 02:21 AM
What's really sad is that the authorities, PD, DCFS, insurance company all have ignored the obvious evidence that there was neglect in this case. Taking 4-5 year olds to a pool and not seeing the dangers sure seem to suggest neglect to me. Their policy screams neglect. Again, I was on a field trip with them the day before this and was assigned to children to watch. I was under the impression the pool would be handled in the same manner. When it wasn't and this occured, my child was removed immediately upon our return (my child was not there the day of the tragedy).
Bruce P. December 19, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Also, Is there anything we can do for the family? Does anybody know if the school set up a memorial fund or charity for the little boy? I can't find anything online.
A Glenview Parent December 20, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Bruce P- center sent a note about what happened on the day it happened. Teachers apologized but then they denied any knowledge of it to authorities. Because note was hand-written from teachers and not official from school, they couldn't use it.
A Glenview Parent December 20, 2012 at 02:40 PM
You may contact the family spokesperson, Val Gurvits at (617) 928-1804 direct. The school did not set up a memorial fund for the boy.
A Glenview Parent December 20, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I agree with you A Concerned Parent #2. Here is the family's response to the reports. http://patch.com/A-xyMs


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