Both Elly and Cameron Lafkin worked full time, outside of their home, in 2012 when their daughter Camden "Cami" Lafkin was born on Valentine's Day 2012.
Like most parents, the Lafkins needed full time child care for Camden, after Elly returned to work. They interviewed child care providers, asked for recommendations from friends and family members and found an in-home child care setting they thought was the perfect match. Elly and Cameron also ran a name based (VA) background check and found only 2 speeding tickets listed for the provider they had chosen. There were no alias names listed through the background check.
On May 17, 2012 when Cami was only 13 weeks old, the Lafkins received a phone call that is every parent's worst nightmare. Cami had been rushed to the local ER as non-responsive. After 65 minutes of CPR, Cami’s time of death was called at 12:35pm.
An investigation by the Rockingham County Sheriff's office was conducted on the child care provider, following Camden's death. A finger print background check revealed that the provider had 5 alias names, was on probation for a felony at the time, and had a lengthy criminal history (all under her alias names). The provider also had methamphetamines in her home, at the time of Camden's death. There were 6 children present in the home, on that day. The daycare was legally operating, under Virginia's unlicensed, child care laws, at that time.
The investigation and court cases that followed sometimes left more questions than answers. How could this child care provider pass a background check? Why didn’t any of the parents who entrusted their children in her care know about her criminal history or the methamphetamines in her home? How could they have trusted her? Why is Virginia supporting these legal, unlicensed, and unmonitored child care centers?
From these questions, grief and fear arose The Cami Campaign, a pending 501c3, founded in 2012 with the mission to educate parents and providers on how to choose safe child care and advocate for laws that increase child care safety standards in Virginia, at no cost to the parent.
The Cami Campaign’s vision is that every Virginia family has access to safe, affordable childcare.
Camden Katherine Lafkin
2/14/2012 - 5/17/2012