News Leader 9's Elizabeth White has obtained several documents detailing suspected mistreatment of a child at Dandyland Day Care Center.
We have learned a parent reported seeing the child being rough handled by a teacher and reported it to the director in May.
EAMC says their investigation has not been able to substantiate the incident. However, the Alabama Department of Human Resources says their paperwork indicates the incident was substantiated.
The Alabama Department of Child Care Minimum Standards Deficiency Report details the incident at the center, owned and operated by East Alabama Medical Center.
The report says "a staff handled a child in a rough or harsh manner."
An incident report from DHR explains in better detail what happened. It states on May 29, the director of the center called and left a message with the Lee county DHR office stating a parent reported to her a teacher was rough handling a child. The director said she was investigating the situation and reviewing the video.
The director reports "the video has not shown anything at this point" according to the document.
A DHR spokesperson says the complaint was substantiated. The incident report obtained by News Leader 9 even says it was substantiated on the top of the document.
However, EAMC says their investigation did not substantiate the incident.
On Wednesday, June 11 they released this statement:
"Dandyland has been operational for more than 20 years and is a tremendous resource for our employees. Having their children on campus gives our parents a level of comfort that most are not afforded and allows them to focus on our patients here at the hospital. As for the deficiency report, we have investigated it thoroughly and have not been able to substantiate it. Dandyland remains in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations and is fully licensed by the state of Alabama. Our goal continues to be to provide a safe, caring and educational facility for the children of our employees."
A DHR spokesperson says even though the complaint was proved to be true by their office, the agency has no role in the hiring or firing of child care employees.
EAMC would not comment on if the staff member involved still works at the center.
This is not the first time EAMC's Dandyland has faced complaints of the mistreatment of children. In September of last year, two women were convicted of 4 counts of harassment each, in a bench trial. A Lee County judge found them guilty of hitting children with wet paper towels and a ruler while they worked for Dandyland. Parents testified, the staff members hit their toddler aged children when they had potty accidents or acted up.
EAMC officials declined to respond when News Leader 9 asked them if EAMC or Dandyland was providing staff with extra training or taking other measures to ensure children are not being harassed or handed in a rough or harsh manner at the center.
We do know the Opelika Police Department says a criminal complaint has not been filed at this point, nor has an investigation been initiated.
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