State issues emergency suspension of McPherson daycare after provider arrested

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued an Emergency Order of Suspension to a McPherson daycare, Golden Explorers.
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 1:10 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued an Emergency Order of Suspension to a McPherson daycare, Golden Explorers.

“State law allows the Secretary of KDHE to issue such an order when, in the opinion of the Secretary, the order is necessary to protect children in the home from any potential threat to health or safety,” the department said.

On Wednesday at 10:48 am, McPherson Police Officers responded to the 100 Block of South Park Street in McPherson, to a call of young children and a dog being unsupervised in someone’s backyard near a pool. When officers arrived, they found four children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old in the area. Officers determined the children had left a daycare in the 700 Block of East Kansas Avenue and walked to this area.

Officers contacted daycare provider, 47-year-old Tracy Barr and another child in the 700 Block of East Kansas Avenue. Officers took the children into protective custody and later released them to their parents or guardians. Officers arrested Barr for Aggravated Endangering a Child and Driving Under the Influence. Barr was booked into the McPherson County Jail and her bond was set at $13,750.00. The McPherson Police Department has referred this incident to the Department of Children and Families and the McPherson County Attorney’s Office.

Eyewitness News spoke with some parents who send their children to Golden Explorers. They said they feel betrayed. Aprille Ohlde said her son made friends at the daycare and she thought she had a trusting bond with Barr.

Parent Suzanna Koop had a similar reaction.

“This made my trust issues have trust issues,” she said. “I’m struggling really hard with continuing to go to work because, man, I don’t know who I can trust. I wholeheartedly trusted [Barr].”

Golden Explorers is located just off one of the busiest streets in McPherson. Although the four children found unsupervised were safe, parents said it could have been a different story.

“The situation could’ve played out so many different ways,” Koop said. You know, the one thing that aggravates me more than anything on this situation is the lack of remorse that [Barr] has.”

Ohlde said the situation of now trying to find a new daycare provider she can trust for her child is putting a lot of strain on her. Similarly, Koop said Golden Explorers was one of the only daycare options in town with an opening and this puts parents in a difficult situation.

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