CREATED Jun. 25, 2013
LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - More than 24 hours later, crime scene tape still hangs from palm trees and patrol cars still line Lee Circle North in Lehigh Acres.
Investigators are probing the drowning of two-year-old Christian Byrd. He was pulled out of a small pool in the backyard of the Smith Family Daycare Home Monday afternoon.
Documents show the daycare has been licensed since 2009. Owner Melissa Smith just renewed the license on June 12th.
Each year, Smith has passed all seven requirements, including a background check and 30 hours of training.
"They have to have training related to child care rules, safety, nutrition, reporting child abuse and neglect," Terry Field, a spokesperson for DCF, said.
The thing is, the state never comes out for routine check ups. Instead, home daycares mail their paperwork to Tallahassee.
"They are not licensed like regular daycare centers so we don't inspect them twice a year, we don't have the same type of authority to act upon deficiencies and stuff like that," Field said.
Officials said home daycares can legally have a pool, as long as it has "barrier to protect it or some sort of alarm device."
But what about CPR certification? Investigators said it was a neighbor who tried to save Byrd by doing mouth to mouth.
"I have seen conflicting rules, but I don't believe you have to be certified, I believe it is just recommended," Field said.
The Florida Department of Children and Families said it has not had any complaints against the daycare since it was licensed in 2009.