Allegations of mistreatment at daycare

By Ben Wolf - bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -  Authorities are investigating allegations of an Ark-La-Tex daycare worker forcing a three year-old to sit in timeout - with no clothes on - in front of other children.

Rachel Hughes says she was shocked after she picked up her three year-old daughter from Butterfly Gardens Child Care in Stonewall on Tuesday afternoon.

It started when the daycare owner accused her child of acting out.

Rachel Hughes then asked to see a digital recording of class that day, a service Butterfly Gardens provides for parents.

"She had used the bathroom on herself at the girl and put her in timeout with nothing on.  And then she walks by and throws her pull-up at her, and throws her clothes at her," said Hughes.

Hughes says she couldn't believe the daycare would actually let her child be naked in front of other children.

"My thing was, they could have taken her to the bathroom and dressed her and if she was out of line, then put her on timeout," said Hughes.

Hughes says she went to the police and authorities collected the digital recordings that night.

KSLA News 12 went straight to Stonewall Police Chief Tommy Dufrene.

"We have an ongoing investigation right now.  It's not completed and when it's completed we'll be able to address the situation," said Chief Dufrene.

KSLA News 12 then gave Butterfly Gardens a chance to tell their side of the story.

They initially had no comment.

Moments later, daycare owner Amanda Holiday approached us and said she would talk to KSLA News 12 about what happened.

We started with the alleged timeout.

Holiday admitted the child was naked in front of other children, but claimed it wasn't during an actual timeout.

Holiday then told KSLA News 12, manpower is an issue at her business when things happen like children wetting their pants.

"With the way our economic system is right now, we're not able to hire the right staff to take care of the kids the way we would like to," said Holiday.

Holiday says she provides a safe environment for the children at the daycare center and says she has the state required teacher to child ratio, even though she did admit she does not have enough staff members for one of them to change a child's clothes individually.

State officials say they licensed Butterfly Gardens Child Care in October of 2007.

The child care center has had what the state describes as deficiencies.

In February of this year, state officials say they didn't provide employee background checks on time, records involving field trips were incomplete; they didn't list the staff members who went on those field trips, and had problems with proving how they obtained permission slips.

Also in February, state officials say they transported children without the proper booster seats.

In March, state officials say they also racked up a deficiency for not transporting four and five year-olds in proper booster seats and they had an improper staff to child ratio.

The state says those deficiencies were later cleared during an inspection in April.

The Department of Social Services says they were on site investigating the daycare.

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