Newport News, Va. - NewsChannel 3 took action to highlight violations at a Newport News daycare after a viewer sent an e-mail expressing concerns about the staff at The Learning Experience Daycare.
"Parents need to be informed and not everyone knows about the Department of Social Services' website," the e-mail read.
DSS records said the daycare "self-reported" an incident where a child was injured in their care earlier this year. Inspectors found through their investigation that the facility "failed to ensure staff did not use physical punishment with children."
Records said in June, a three-year-old boy "sustained 2 bruises on the right side of his rear neck and three bruises on the left side of his rear neck while in the care of staff #1."
Records said the boy "used sign language to communicate hurt and me." Documents said the staff member involved "appeared frustrated as she was red in the face." Inspection reports said she said she picked him up and put him back on the mat and denied pushing the child in his neck.
Social services ordered corrective action, and as part of that, the center held in-service training on child abuse and neglect posted educational posters throughout the daycare.
Records also showed that on five different occasions, a staff member placed children in a dark bathroom when they misbehaved. The staff member, documents said, told the children "Mr. B a monster lives in the bathroom." Records said the children began fearing going to the bathroom alone.
Other inspection reports said some employees "did not have completed criminal history checks" when they started working.
The Learning Experience director did not answer questions from NewsChannel 3 Wednesday afternoon.
NewsChannel 3 did confirm with Newport News police that no staff members faced criminal charges for any of the incidents this year.
The license for the daycare center expired in July, but DSS decided to re-license the facility.
A spokesperson for DSS told NewsChannel 3 "the license was not revoked because there was one valid complaint and one valid other inspection during the licensure period. The center`s compliance history for the past two years has been rated an overall one year license by the risk profile report."
You can take action to see what, if any violations your child's daycare center has on file. Just head to the VDSS website and enter the center's name.