FORT DODGE, Iowa (KCCI) — A Fort Dodge mom says her child came home with more bite marks on his back than the months he’s been alive. She says her 10-month-old is still suffering from the incident. KCCI’s Tommie Clark has the claims against the day care, and why the family is not getting any answers.
“I just got really upset, because I still don’t know what happened, and it’s like nobody cares,” said mom, Sara Lovely.
It’s been nearly two weeks since 10-month-old Jace came home from day care and gave his family a scare.
“We took off his onesie to give him some SpaghettiOs, and my sister had shown up to the house, so he was just in a diaper, and she goes, “‘What’s all over his back?'” Lovely said.
It was bite marks. He was also sent home with a blood-stained onesie. Lovely says those marks were not there when she dropped her baby off at ChildCare Discovery Center in Fort Dodge that morning. Lovely says she has contacted the day care, police and DHS, but still has no answers.
Lovely says she’s been told, “no one saw anything.” Day care owner, Tammy McNeil, tells KCCI they were not aware of any incident until the center was notified four hours after Jace left.
“No one would tell me anything, and when you can’t do anything about it, it makes you feel terrible because I don’t really know what happened,” Lovely said.
According to McNeil’s statement, “We do our best to intervene and prevent biting, but it is impossible to completely stop it. Had staff members witnessed the child being bitten they would have intervened and the parents would have been notified of the incident.”
McNeil added that there were five employees in Jace’s room, and he did not show any sign of injury.
“I want each and every one of those girls to tell me to my face that they don’t know what happened to my son,” Lovely said.
Now, Lovely says she won’t send her child to day care again. She’s relying on police and DHS to find out what happened.
“I’m trying to put my trust in the authority to do something about it, and I’m trying to get the word out there so people know just to be really careful,” Lovely said.
Lovely says she thought the day care’s cameras would record the incident. But, she says she has been told that the cameras are actually only a live feed. McNeil says they’re investigating and cooperating with DHS.
Fort Dodge Police Captain Ryan Gruenberg tells KCCI via email quote, “We were contacted by the mother of the juvenile regarding this incident and spoke to her about it. The Department of Human Services was contacted as it relates to a child care facility and the family and representatives from the Department of Human Services have been communicating. At this point it is unclear if any action took place that would rise to the level of a criminal offense. We are allowing the investigative process to unfold and we plan to move forward accordingly if a criminal element is presented.”
Below is the daycare administrator’s full statement to KCCI:
“When we were contacted by the parent, we reached out to DHS to be sure an investigation would be completed as we had not yet been contacted by DHS. The injuries the mother has identified appear to be bite marks from a child. It has not been determined how or where the child was injured or if the injury occurred while he was in our care. We were not aware of any incident until we were notified at closing, roughly four hours after the child left the center. We are investigating the matter and cooperating fully with DHS in an attempt to determine what happened.
It is important to understand that biting is common among young children and it is a normal developmental behavior. Children biting other children is an unavoidable occurrence in group childcare. We do our best to intervene and prevent biting, but it is impossible to completely stop it. Had staff members witnessed the child being bitten they would have intervened and the parents would have been notified of the incident. During the time the child was in our care, there were five employees in this room and he did not exhibit any sign of injury, so no report was given to his parents in this instance.”
ChildCare Discovery Center
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