INDIANAPOLIS -- A south side mother is speaking out Friday after a Facebook video appears to show a day care worker grabbing her 3-year old son DaMont'e by the arm.
“I was shocked somebody handled my child the way she did,” said Angel Bennett, mother of DaMont'e. “He was snatched by his arm, twisted by his arm. You can see her leg come into contact with his body to make him do what she wanted him to do.”
The video is likely evidence for La Petite Academy child care center, Indianapolis Metro Police, the Indiana Department of Child Services and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.
Bennett is grateful to the man who recorded the incident on his cell phone, and hopes others will do something if they witness possible child abuse or neglect.
“He could of done nothing, saw it, and gone about his day,” said Bennett. “Him pulling out that phone and recording is a major, major thing. He helped so much.”
Call 6 Investigates checked with child welfare experts and police, and they say if you feel safe intervening in a suspected case of child abuse, you should.
“Everyone’s level of getting involved is different,” said Indiana Department of Child Services spokesperson James Wide. “However, we are all mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect. If we see anything we suspect is abuse/neglect, we should call 800-800-5556.”
If you contact the state hotline, you should provide any information you can.
“A video is very helpful,” said Wide.
Oftentimes, allegations of child abuse are a he-said/she-said situation, but a video can be a huge piece of evidence for investigators.
Indianapolis Metro Police spokesperson Kendale Adams said choosing whether to hit record is a personal choice.
“Obviously, we cannot recommend someone put themselves in harms’ way unless they are prepared to do so,” said Adams. “Recording of video is critical in our investigations in helping record the facts as they happen as opposed to what someone says or doesn’t say. If you witness abuse, call authorities right away and let the proper officials intervene.”
DaMont'e was taken to the hospital Thursday night, and is expected to be ok.
“He’s still a little sore,” said Bennett, still wearing his hospital bracelet.
The day care placed the worker on administrative leave while they investigate.
The employee has not been criminally charged, however, Bennett hopes she will be arrested.
“I really trusted her,” said Bennett.
Bennett said the day care called her to notify her of the video circulating on Facebook.
“I guess he was being defiant and didn’t want to come inside from the playground,” said Bennett. “He’s a child. He wants to play.”
Now she’s trying to figure out if she should send her children back to the day care.
“I have to pay bills, I have to work, so I have to have someone to care for my child,” said Bennett. “This could happen anywhere.”
This particular La Petite Academy on Kildeer Drive has been cited at least twice in the last year for using inappropriate discipline, including one incident that involved a teacher getting fired.
“I knew about one of those incidents,” said Bennett.
Bennett plans to ask the day care about their training to prevent this type of thing from happening in the future.
HOW TO CHECK A CHILD CARE FACILITY:
- Plug in a provider's name to ChildCareFinder.IN.Gov and look for complaints, inspection reports and any pending enforcement
- Use your eyes and ears when visiting. Are they following safe sleep? Is equipment working? Are children strapped into their high chairs?
- Drop by the child's day care unexpectedly during the day. What is seen at pickup and drop off may be very different than what's happening during the middle of the day
- Ask to see the provider's license or registration, which should be posted in a public area. If the provider is on probation, it will say so on the license, along with the reasons why.
- Ask to see a copy of the day care's discipline policy. Corporal punishment is not illegal in the state of Indiana
- Ask what their current child-to-staff ratio is. Experts say accidents are more likely to happen when staffers are watching a lot of children.
- Ask if the provider is part of the state's voluntary rating system, called Paths to Quality. The state said this helps guarantee they're meeting and/or exceeding licensing requirements regardless of type of day care
- If you use an unlicensed facility, know they do not have to submit to background checks, CPR training, safe sleep training and other requirements. Ask to see proof your provider has completed these.
- For more information, go to ChildCareIndiana.org