Jacque’s Teddy Bear Child Care in Trinity is closed for at least 90-days while The Florida Department of Children and Families looks at a disturbing sex abuse case.
This comes following the arrest of the 16-year-old son of the in-home daycare’s owner.
He’s accused of sexually assaulting a three-year-old child during nap time.
Three other children made similar accusations.
Kendra Abeledo runs Heaven Sent Child Care, also in Trinity and says she was very upset to hear what happened.
“There’s nothing that goes on in this house that I don’t know,” she said.
Thursday the Pasco Sheriff’s Office released a report, showing they notified DCF about a similar accusation against the same teen three years ago.
DCF said at the time, the report didn’t meet their criteria to investigate because the boy was only 13.
So how do parents know their kids will be safe when picking an in-home daycare?
The first step is making sure, like Abeledo, they are licensed with DCF.
“You have to take classes, 30 hours, you have to be CPR certified. First aid certified. You have to have a local and international background check done,” she said.
On Heaven Sent’s website, Abeledo even puts direct links to her DCF reports.
As for Jacque’s Teddy Bear Childcare, where investigators say the abuse took place, It’s actually registered under a different name on DCF’s website.
And reports only go back a couple years.
In those reports, there are just a few minor violations, including one for having too many kids.
Experts said it’s always a good idea to get references from other parents.
And if you are talking with a daycare, show up unannounced to get a more realistic view at what’s going on in the home.
Abeledo said what happened gives all in-home daycares a bad name.
“I Feel horrible for the parents. I can’t even imagine, how they are going to ever trust another child care provider,” she said.
The Sheriff’s office said in that case 3 years ago, they didn’t have enough evidence to make an arrest.
But they still said DCF should have placed the daycare under greater scrutiny after those original allegations.