Woman charged with a felony abuse of an infant at a Sneads Ferry childcare center

(SNEADS FERRY, NC)-

Photo from Childcare Network Website

On June 11, 2019 the Childcare Network parents in Sneads Ferry received a notice informing them of an incident that occurred in their school the day prior where an infant child was injured while in the care of the facility.

The infant child who is under 1-year-old was provided with CPR by caregivers as well as lifesaving techniques for emergency situations. The child’s parents were notified immediately by the center and the teacher involved was suspended without pay at that time, pending an internal investigation as well as by law enforcement.

The incident allegedly was quickly determined not to have been caused by a hazard, lack of security, supervision nor due to inappropriate ratios of caregivers to student at the time of the incident. Some parents were also allegedly informed soon after that the teacher would not be returning to the school based on this incident.

The Onslow Beat reached out to the Childcare Network location on Thursday, June 13th for a statement and they declined to do so with a pending and open investigation.

Col. Chris Thomas at Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday there was anticipation of closing the case this week. He further assured, “To my knowledge this is the only incident that has been reported to the Sheriff’s Office from that location.” “They have been completely cooperative with the investigation and were the reporting party as well.”

The infant child was transported to Vidant Medical in Greenville from Onslow Memorial Hospital for treatment immediately following and released Thursday of last week. Medical professionals have since advised that the infant is expected to recover.

Today, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office issued a release stating it had been determined that this act was purposeful. The childcare worker, Bethan Pringle, age 23 was the worker who was responsible for the child’s injuries. The infant suffered from head trauma which resulted when the child was intentionally dropped by the suspect.

Pringle was arrested and charged with Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury. She was issued a $100,000 secured bond and placed in the custody of the Onslow County Detention Center.

Childcare Network is a 5-star facility with a superior classification, as well as the newest facility in the area. This facility opened in August 20, 2018 and has swiftly corrected any violations prior to date as required by the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) . The most recent inspection from DHHS/DCDEE shows where the facility was rated a 211/235 score and there were no violations despite this tragedy.

There have been two violations during an unannounced visit by the DCDEE to this facility that occurred in 2018 and both swiftly corrected.

Rule Violated: Medications including prescription and non-prescription items were not stored in a locked cabinet or other locked container. Medications in space #9 and space #10 were stored in the cabinet under the diaper changing table; the cabinets were unlocked.

Rule Violated: Caregivers did not document compliance with visually checking on sleeping infants aged 12 months or younger and/or the documents were not maintained for a minimum of one month. In space #9. a visual sleep check was documented at 9:45am. During the classroom observation at 10:30am, the infant was still asleep and no other visual sleep checks had been documented. (12/10/18)-DHHS database

There are limited childcare options in the quaint fishing village of Sneads Ferry.

Another local facility has parents skeptical in the quality of facility standards since a change in ownership leaving some parents feeling grim about care options.

One mother said, “This is why I would rather just stay at home until our baby is older, so I know that he is safe.” in response to this incident. “You cannot trust anywhere anymore.”

The Onslow Beat took a deeper look into local daycare options to see how they compare to Childcare Network in light of standard of care and violations in Sneads Ferry.

Noah’s Ark Preschool: Four (4) violations in March 2019 for broken furniture, poor activity plan and lacking first aid training. Another two (2) in May for administering medication after the expiration date with expired permission form.

Sneads Ferry Quality Care has six violations documented by DHHS/DCDEE just this month from an unannounced visit. Violations range across a variety of lack in training for childcare workers, not having CPR & First Aid certifications and Child Maltreatment Training. Some of these violations are still pending response to the department. One violation:

Rule Violated: New staff, who had contact with children, did not receive at least 16 hrs. orientation within first 6 weeks. Three of the thirty-two staff employed had not completed the required orientation training within the first 6 weeks of employment. -DHHS database.

A Happy Home Daycare in Sneads Ferry that is a licensed home daycare had violations in 2017 for hazardous chemicals like cleaners and pesticides. There were no violations in 2018 on either visit yet there have been violations founded in 2019.

Rule Violated: Hazardous cleaning supplies and other items that might be poisonous were not kept out of reach or in locked storage when children were in care. Three bottles of hand sanitizer were located in the home: One was sitting in the middle of the kitchen table used by the children for lunch routines, a second bottle was located on the cabinet beside the diaper changing table accessible to the children, and a third bottle was located on the corner of the desk adjacent to the children care space accessible to the children. Four aerosol cans were located in the home: One can of Lysol and one can of Resolve were located on a shelf above the diaper changing table and one can of Lysol and one can of Ozium Air Sanitizer was located on a shelf behind the entrance/exit door to the child care space.- DHHS database. (2017) 

Rule Violated: Written record of up-to-date pet vaccinations as required by NC law and local ordinances, including rabies vaccination for dogs and cats, was not available. The vaccination for Cornflake, the cat, expired 12/30/18.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
Rule Violated: Activity plans did not include activities intended to stimulate the developmental domains, in accordance with NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development. An activity plan was not available.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
Rule Violated: Operator did not provide a written statement to parents regarding the smoking and tobacco restriction. A signed and dated acknowledgement statement from each parents indicating they had received a copy of the smoking and tobacco restriction.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
 
To view any additonal childcare facility’s performance and possible violations, visit the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education through NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.

The Onslow Beat urges parents to do research on every facility in any location before enrolling as well as facilities to ensure training and references prior to hiring.

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