Mitchell: Mother accuses day care provider of paddling 6-year-old

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There is no excuse for a day care worker spanking a 6-year-old.

But when the care provider uses a “wooden paddle” that leaves bruises on someone else’s child, the incident reflects more than poor judgment.

It is child abuse.

Carrie Howlett said she discovered bruises on her son when she picked him up from “God’s Little Helper Day Care” at 3734 W. 79th Street on May 29. The day care facility is open 24 hours and serves children between the ages of 6 weeks and 12 years.

OPINION

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Howlett works evenings, between 2:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., which made “God’s Little Helper Day Care” a good option for child care.

The mother found the bruises when she undressed her son for bed.

“I asked him what happened, and he said [he was whipped] with a wooden paddle. It was a shock to see little red bruises on his arms and booty,” she said.

I am not identifying the accused day care worker because she has not been charged with a crime. But I reached out to the day care center’s owner, Niovanni Mack. She did not return my calls. Attempts to reach the day care worker at the center of this controversy were also unsuccessful.

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services confirmed that “God’s Little Helper Day Care” is being investigated in connection with this incident, but declined to give further details.

Although Howlett said the DCFS investigator told her the day care center’s license would be pulled, the day care was operating on Wednesday.

Howlett said when she saw the bruises, she took her son to the University of Illinois Hospital, and a doctor notified DCFS.Later, when the mother confronted the center’s director about the incident, she was told the boy had been misbehaving.

“If he was misbehaving that bad, I could have made the necessary arrangements to get off and pick him up. But they took it upon themselves to whip him like he belonged to them,” she said.

Howlett is also concerned about how this incident was handled.

She claims to have called the DCFS investigator several times and has yet to get a call back. When she went to the police station to file a complaint — thinking the police would pick up the accused day care worker — Howlett said a police officer told her she had to go to court for a summons to have a warrant issued.

“The bruises have gone away, but I haven’t heard anything. It’s like they don’t care and want to sweep it under a rug,” the mother said.

“But the main thing I want to point out is why would this lady discipline my child? That is the part that is really unacceptable,” she said.

“And why was there even a wooden paddle?” Howlett asked.

For now, it is Howlett and her son who are being hurt most by this paddling incident. After going to the same day care center for years, her son has been displaced.

“He hasn’t been back to the day care and that’s sad. Now everything is up in the air. It’s a big inconvenience. But I don’t want that lady to get away with this. It’s not right,” she said.

Follow Mary Mitchell on Twitter: @MaryMitchellCST

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