Employee at local daycare charged, allegedly hit child - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Employee at local daycare charged, allegedly hit child

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Kelli Chenoa Walker  Source: Al Cannon Detention Center Kelli Chenoa Walker Source: Al Cannon Detention Center

Court papers say Kelli Chenoa Walker was charged with Cruelty to Children on August 1, it's alleged the incident happened to the child at the Sun Shine House Daycare Center on Long point Rd. in Mt. Pleasant.

Barbara Anderson a spokesperson for the Sunshine House says the company has a strict hiring process and thorough checks are done on potential hires and that the suspect no longer is employed by the center.

Sunshine House has 119 centers in 9 states News 2's Matt Bise is following this story and will have more on News 2 at 5 and 6.

The Sunshine House Learning Academy sent this letter to parents Monday:

August 5, 2013

Dear Families,

The safety of the children in our care is our first priority, and The Sunshine House does not tolerate any mistreatment of children. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, an incident occurred that requires our mutual attention.

On Thursday, July 25, a staff member reported a classroom incident to our Center Director. Center management took immediate action and notified the child's parents and supervising agencies, including the Department of Social Services (DSS). The employee named in the allegation was immediately suspended, pending the results of an internal company investigation.

Based on the findings of our preliminary investigation, the employee was terminated from her position on Monday, July 29, 2013. The employee did not work or come into contact with children after the incident was reported on July 25.

Our primary focus is the care and protection of children. Before an applicant is offered a position at The Sunshine House, he/she must successfully pass a criminal background check and undergo a state fingerprint-based background check conducted by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). A fingerprint-based background check is also conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to determine any other criminal history. A Central Registry check is also conducted by SLED to determine any potential past history of abuse or neglect perpetrated upon a child. All classroom teachers also complete regular training and continuing education courses on classroom management and other operational and educational initiatives.

We take any allegation of inappropriate staff behavior very seriously. While our current pre-employment screening and on-going staff monitoring meet and/or exceed all state licensing requirements, we are reviewing our existing employee hiring and monitoring practices to determine where we can strengthen safeguards for the protection of children.

We continue to cooperate with the police as they investigate this incident, and are concurrently continuing our internal investigation.

If you have any questions or would like to share additional information you feel might be helpful to our investigation, please feel free to contact your Center Director or Regional Director.

Warm Regards,

Dale Vervaet

Chief Executive Officer

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