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Abuse allegations underway into Macomb daycare

An abuse investigation is underway into a Macomb daycare.

Corporal punishment, withholding food, leaving children unattended, staff that aren’t properly trained; just some of the 16 violations the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services says happened at Macomb’s Wesley Christian Childcare. That’s all out of one visit on February 8.

“When the board found out about that, they were incensed,” said Keith Branham, board chairman of Wesley Christian Childcare Center. “That is unacceptable.”

With some 90 students enrolled at the daycare, Branham says they’re looking into every violation brought forth and are taking those seriously.

“Every person who comes through this door is not necessarily the most healthy person in the world,” said Branham. “They’re carrying baggage with them. You just have to understand, we’re going to manage, in some way, the expectations of the parents and those children. Some of the children may be ADD and nobody knows it yet but we need to understand how to approach that and understand that in that particular child.”

Mom Amanda Behymer has been bringing her daughter to the Wesley Christian Childcare for the past three years and found out about the allegations through social media.

“I just can’t believe this is going on.”

Beyond her disbelief, Behymer has nothing but good things to say about the facility and those who work there.

“This isn’t a bad place,” said Behymer. “My daughter has been going here for three years and has grown and developed over the years and has really enjoyed all her teachers she’s had. It’s just a happy place.”

Nonetheless, Branham says they are taking the necessary steps to right their wrongs.

“I can’t flip a switch and change everything in one fell swoop,” said Branham.

Branham says he is expecting to meet with a member of DCFS in the coming days to discuss ways to better train the staff at the childcare center. He says he’s confident he can turn things around in the next 90 days.

Despite the 16 substantiated violations against the Wesley Christian Childcare Center, their license to operate the daycare is still listed as active on the Illinois DCFS website.

To look at daycare provider compliance reports:

To report a concern with a daycare provider:

  • In Illinois (Department of Child and Family Services)
    DCFS says to call the Day Care Information Hotline at 1-877-746-0829 and ask for the name and number for the licensing representative assigned to your provider. You may then call the licensing representative or his/her supervisor and discuss your concerns.
    DCFS website
  • In Missouri (Department of Health and Senior Services)
    DHSS says if you suspect child abuse, neglect or exploitation at a child care facility in Missouri, contact the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-392-3738.
    DHSS website
  • In Iowa (Department of Human Services)
    DHS says if you have concerns regarding a specific child care provider or child care business that is not meeting Iowa regulations, please contact the Iowa Child Care Complaint Hotline at 844-786-1296.
    IDHS website

Kaylee Pfeiferling

Multimedia Journalist

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