‘We’re demanding justice’: Henrico home daycare facing abuse allegations involving six-month-old
HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - A Henrico County child daycare is facing abuse allegations after one Henrico family says their daughter was visibly injured while in their care.
Kenya Coleman has relied on childcare as she tries to balance being a working mother while also trying to obtain her Ph.D.
Coleman says she enrolled her then six-month-old daughter, Brielle, in Tiny T’s Child Care in January of this year.
Little did she know she’d withdraw her daughter from the home daycare after enrolling for less than two weeks.
“I didn’t even want my child in daycare, but I thought that being she was a “day home,” it would be the safest place for her,” Coleman said.
On Jan. 27, Coleman says she received a text message from the daycare that her daughter had scratched her face while lying in her crib.
After receiving photos of Brielle’s injuries from the daycare via text message, Coleman says she and Brielle’s father Brandon Leary rushed over to the facility, alleging their daughter had visible signs of injuries.
Coleman says that’s when she decided to call the police.
Henrico Police tell NBC12 they responded to the 5000 Block of Cedar Acres Court around 2:03 p.m. on Jan. 27 of a report of a suspicious situation.
Police say once on scene, officers spoke with the complainant regarding injuries a juvenile sustained that day.
Due to the complaint involving a minor, Henrico Police’s Special Victims Unit took over the case.
Henrico Police tell NBC12 in a statement:
“Detectives are working as diligently and thoroughly as possible to investigate what occurred, which includes working with other agencies who are part of the multidisciplinary team investigating this case. This also includes reviewing all evidence gathered by the team. This remains an ongoing investigation.”
Coleman showed NBC12 photos taken at the time of the incident.
“I cry every time I see or look at these pictures,” Coleman said.
Photos show the child with several scratches on her face, cheeks, and all around her face and neck.
“Me, as a father, I feel like I failed her,” Leary said. “You think when you go to work each day and leave your kids in the care of these so-called professionals, you’re paying good money to them and all this stuff. You expect to be in the same condition and same health that you dropped them off in.”
Coleman says she received social services funding to help pay for her daughter’s childcare since she was working and in school. The mother also says childcare options, including Tiny T’s Child Care, were provided by social services.
The Virginia Department of Social Services documents the home daycare has a handful of violations dating back to January of last year.
On the day of the January 2023 incident, documents show the daycare failed to ensure the home was conducive to the welfare of children.
Its most recent violation, on April 14, cites the daycare failing to lock up medications out of a child’s reach and areas where children play outside of the home were not maintained clean and safe.
Henrico Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor wrote a statement to NBC12 regarding Henrico Police’s investigation.
“We anticipate that they will be able to present their findings to my office very soon, at which time we will be able to review the evidence and make a determination whether or not there are any charges that may be brought. We regret what this family has been going through during this time but hope to be able to provide them with a specific update very soon.”
No charges have been filed at this time.
Meanwhile, Brielle’s great-grandmother, Felecia Kelly, has taken over childcare for the family during the week.
Kelly, as well as Coleman and Leary, are demanding justice as soon as possible. Loved ones say they’re unsure why it’s taken nearly five months to get answers.
“I still don’t know what’s wrong or what happened,” Coleman said.
The family says they want to see child neglect and abuse charges presented to those accountable for Brielle’s injuries, and they want to see home daycare shut down.
“We’ve done what’s been asked of us. So, now we’re demanding justice. We’re demanding some answers, and it needs to happen today,” the child’s great-grandmother Felecia Kelly said.
NBC12 did reach out to Tiny T’s Child Care, who declined to comment on the matter on Wednesday.
A spokesperson over the phone told NBC12 they “felt like they had done everything they needed to do in this situation.”
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