FOREST PARK, Ohio -- As she faces criminal charges alleging she hit repeatedly hit a child in her care, a Forest Park woman is being allowed to keep her in-home day care center open.
Denise Burton, 53, is charged with three counts of endangering children. She pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning.
Burton operates her state-licensed day care center out of an apartment complex on Pennington Court. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website, Burton has a Type B day care, meaning she can watch up to six children at a time.
The charges stem from a customer's claim that her 2-year-old son came home covered in bruises July 30.
"I saw the bruises on his legs, his butt, and there was a few red marks on his back, and my heart just stopped," Tina Johnson said. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh.'"
According to Johnson, a doctor at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center said one of the wounds looked like somebody bit her son. She said the toddler is still traumatized
"He still keeps talking about it," she said. "He keeps talking about that every day. Sometimes he will cry because he thinks when I say, 'Let's go, get ready to go,' he's like, 'No I don't want to go there!'"
Brian Gregg, spokesman for Hamilton County Job and Family Services, said the agency recommended to its state counterpart that Burton's license be revoked. However, according to the state, Burton can keep her license until an investigation of the allegations is complete.
That's not soon enough for Johnson.
"I think they need to look at what happened to my child," she said. "If that's not enough to tell you to take away her license, then what are you waiting for? For her to do it to somebody else's child?"
Burton said her attorney advised her to not comment.
According to 4C for Children, a advocacy organization focused on early childhood care, parents should look for a few key things in any day care provider.
First, make sure the staff have formal training in childhood development, such as a bachelor's or associate's degree in early education, or a Child Development Credential. Ohio and Kentucky have specific regulations about child care providers.
Also, look for a day care center that will help your child learn and grow -- in their social skills, emotional skills, physical skills and mental ability.
Look around. Be sure the day care center is clean, and that staff follow good policies for sick children.
Try to find a day care provider that encourages parents to get involved.
Some warning signs would include:
- Limited attention to interaction with children.
- High turnover among the staff.
- TV is on a lot.