COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - After a daycare worker was arrested and charged for allegedly slapping a 3-year-old girl, WIS did some digging into the facility where it happened.
Over the last three years, DSS inspection reports show 39 deficiencies. About a third of those were considered high severity, meaning they could put a child's health or safety at risk. Some of those included improper supervision of kids and not enough workers per child. Other complaints vary and involve sanitation, feeding, attendance records, and failure to report incidents from DSS.
Play Pals participates in the state's ABC Quality rating program. It's graded a "C," which DSS describes as "entry-level." It's a requirement to comply with health and safety regulations. In situations like this one, ABCQ requires that the daycare either fire or suspend the employee involved. If they are suspended, they cannot return to employment until they've been cleared.
WIS reached out to Play Pals, but the director of the daycare said they're not commenting on the incident.
This most recent incident happened back on May 3.
According to an incident report from the Richland County Sheriff's Department, parents of the 3-year-old noticed a scratch on her neck and a bruise on her face when they picked her up from daycare. They say she told them her teacher Thomasine Jackson hit her.
According to deputies, Jackson said the little girl refused to put away toys when she was asked. She said the little girl then used profanity, calling her a name. At that point, Jackson admits to hitting the child "gently on the lips" asking her not to say that. She denied, however, slapping her face where she was bruised.
Jackson was arrested on May 19 and taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
DSS recommends that all parents take injuries seriously. They encourage parents to listen to children when they describe threats made against him or her that sound reasonable or believable. Look for signs of fear when they're in the facility like crying, jitters, inability to focus, withdrawal, nightmares or insomnia. Know what's reasonable discipline.
DSS urges it's not okay to lock a child up or restrain them unless they would otherwise be in harm's way.
There could be a problem if a caregiver expresses that the child deserved it and that there was intent to harm your child. Also be concerned if a caregiver acknowledges injury but says they don't know how it got there.
To report potential neglect or abuse, call DSS's Out of Home Abuse and Neglect Unit at 803-898-7669 or 800-645-9789 after hours.
For more tips on choosing safe and reliable childcare, DSS recommends visiting the following links:
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