MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When you drop your child off at day care, you expect to pick them up the way you found them, but one Memphis mom said that was not the case for her and her daughter.
When Charnise Smith picked up her 2-year-old Shia, she said Shia had a deep scratch along her face.
“She’s all I have, so, you know, it hurts,” Charnise Smith said. “I would ask, ‘who hurt you?’ And she would say, ‘her hurt me. Her hurt me, mom.’”
13 days after Shia got the gash on her face, Smith said she still doesn’t have answers. On February 14th, Smith said the daycare messaged her on Kinderlime, the app that the day care uses to communicate with parents.
“She was asking if Shia normally scratches herself at home. She told me she had a bowel movement during nap time, and she was playing in it,” Smith said.
In the message, a day care employee suggested to Smith that Shia could have gotten feces on her face, and then possibly scratched herself while trying to get it off. Smith told FOX13 that her daughter is mostly potty trained, and if she ever has an accident, she tells an adult right away because she likes being clean. Smith said the day care’s story doesn’t add up to her, but that despite that, her biggest problem is that nobody seems to be sure how the gash got there.
“I asked if she fell, bumped her face, I know children will hurt themselves,” Smith said. “She told me she didn’t know, and that’s the wrong answer, because all parents would like to know what goes on with their child,” Smith said.
FOX13 Investigates reached out to Legacy Academy LLC, which is located in Frayser. After several messages and phone calls, reporter Leah Jordan received this text from an employee:
“Hello…I’ve spoken with a police sergeant about this matter and I’ve spoken with my business attorney already. I have no other comments right now.”
The day care’s Facebook page was removed after FOX13 Investigates began asking questions.
We reached out to the state, and found that Legacy Academy LLC is not currently licensed. A spokesperson with the Department of Human Resources said that they’re in the prelicensure process, which means they have to follow the same restrictions as unlicensed daycares. DHS visited Legacy Academy and the spokesperson said they found no issues of concern regarding those restrictions.
Despite this, the Department of Child Services confirmed that an investigation is now underway.
“I just want to know what really happened and I just want to get justice for my baby and I want to get answers,” Smith said.
During the process of this investigation, FOX13 found that there are different types of day cares, and several different rules to go along with them.
The State said Legacy Academy LLC is currently going through the prelicensure process that every licensed child care agency goes through. More on that process: https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/for-families/child-care-services/how-to-become-a-licensed-child-care-provider.html
When it comes to licensed daycare centers, there are several types of agencies:
Child Care Centers provide care for 13 or more children.
Family Child Care Homes provide care for at least five but not more than seven unrelated children. Up to 5 additional children related to the primary caregiver may also receive care in family child care homes.
Group Child Care Homes provide care for at least 8 but not more than 12 children. Up to 3 additional school age children may receive care before and after school, on school holidays, on snow days, and during summer vacation.
Drop-In Centers provide care for 15 or more children not to exceed 14 hours per week and for not more than 7 hours per day for any individual child during regular working hours, Monday - Friday 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Drop-in centers can also provide up to 6 additional hours of care per week during evening (after 6 PM) and weekend (until 10 PM on Sunday) hours, as long as the total number of hours per week does not exceed 20 hours for any individual child, exclusive of snow days.
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