Grieving Parents Of Toddler Share Concerns About B.C Daycare System

January 29, 2017
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Vancouver police responded to a call on January 18, that a 15-month-old child was found dead in a home. The Vancouver Police are still investigating the circumstances of the child’s death and the B.C. Coroners Service is working to determine the cause of death.

When the child was found, authorities said that the death did not appear to be suspicious. CTV News then confirmed that there is no registered or licensed daycare at the residence where the incident occurred.

The parents of the child, Shelley Sheppard and Chris Saini are now speaking out in the hopes their tragedy will bring meaningful change.

The grieving couple opened up about their devastation and loss in a heartbreaking letter.

“We are so overwhelmed by Mac’s death. Losing him has completely shattered us. He was the love of our lives,”

All we have left now are memories and ashes.”

Very little details about what happened have actually been confirmed; the family has only said the toddler was involved in an accident at the daycare.

Sheppard and Saini, unfortunately, had no reassurances in their letter, to offer families put on edge by their terrible loss.

“We know parents are scared and want to know how this could happen. Please know this: we did all the checks a diligent parent should do. We had lists of things to look for and questions to ask. We signed papers, we were given assurances and promises that made us feel like Mac would be safe and well cared for,” they said.

The pair said that they could not comment further on the details of what happened, but they called on the B.C. government to enact “massive reform” of the daycare system.

CTV News has confirmed there is no registered or licensed daycare at the Kitchener property’s address, though daycares that only care for two children, or a group of siblings, are not required to register or obtain a license in B.C.

The East Vancouver home where the accident happened, was cordoned off by police for several days after the toddler’s death.

One of the landlords, Karen Kruse, told CTV News she was unaware that a daycare had been operating at the property. According to her, the tenants only moved in back in October and have left since the tragedy, Kruse added.

The Vancouver Police Department is continuing to investigate the circumstances leading up to the death and no arrests have been made at this stage.

Read the full letter from the parents: 

We are Mac’s Mommy and Daddy.

Let us begin by saying we are profoundly appreciative of the support we have received from our families, friends, community and even people we don’t know. We are humbled by this outpouring of love during our darkest days.

Today we said goodbye to Macallan Wayne Saini, our perfect baby boy. On January 18, 2017, one day before Mac was to turn 16 months, he was suddenly taken from us.

Mac filled a room with his joy and curiosity. His eyes sparkled and smiled at everyone and everything. Mac was such a happy boy that loved to laugh and play “jokes” on Momma and Dada. He had just learned how to climb on the couch and how to hide in a corner so that he could toddle out and pretend to scare people. He mastered signing “more” and would use it when he was being pushed on the swing so that we wouldn’t stop. Mac was very proud of himself whenever he learned a new skill and so were we. These memories of him and his life, these glimpses into what kind of a man he would have become, are all we have now. We will never teach Mac to ride a bike, walk him to school, or see him fall in love. All the things parents dream of. 

We know parents are scared and want to know how this could happen. Please know this: we did all the checks a diligent parent should do. We had lists of things to look for and questions to ask. We signed papers, we were given assurances and promises that made us feel like Mac would be safe and well cared for. In the end, this was all meaningless. Mac’s death was entirely preventable and we want to make sure this never happens again. We cannot comment further on the details of his death. 

We don’t want our sweet boy’s death to have been in vain. The day care system in British Columbia needs massive reform. Like most parents in BC, we found the choices impossibly limited when it came to day care spaces. Parents are rushed to take the one spot available and pressured into making decisions that may not work for their family. In Mac’s memory we will fight for accountable, safe and affordable daycare. The most precious and vulnerable members of our population aren’t able to tell us what is happening behind closed doors. We in BC need to know that when our children are away from us that they will not be harmed and that they are treated with care and respect. No other mother should ever have to see the love of her life lying dead on the floor. No father should have to load his son’s casket into a crematorium furnace. 

We are so overwhelmed by Mac’s death. Losing him has completely shattered us. He was the love of our lives. Our heart. Our joy. Our everything.

All we have left now are memories and ashes.

Shelley Sheppard and Chris Saini 

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