Daycare cited after worker accused of hurting baby

August 18, 2012 9:04:57 AM PDT
State and city inspectors have cited a Jersey City daycare center for code violations days after a center employee was charged with breaking the leg of a 4-month-old boy she was supposed to be caring for.

The Jersey Journal reports that The Academy of Learning has been cited for numerous health and fire-related violations. Inspectors have also reduced the legal occupancy of the daycare from 23 to 15.

A message left for Academy officials on Saturday was not immediately returned.

Authorities have charged 19-year-old Heather McDonald of Jersey City with aggravated assault, child abuse and endangerment.

Prosecutors allege McDonald broke the baby's tibia with her hand on Aug. 6.

She has been released on bail. A message left for her attorney on Saturday was not immediately returned.

The child's mother took him to a hospital later last week after noticing discomfort.

Hudson County First Assistant Prosecutor Debra Simon says the baby is in a cast and recovering.

McDonald has reportedly worked at the daycare for about a year, and owner Latoya Cane says she has no criminal history and passed a background check. Other parents said they had no hesitation about leaving their children there, and that all the employees were great, especially the one facing charges.

Many said they were in disbelief and that the accusations didn't seem possible.

"The mother said to the staff that something is wrong with my baby's foot, I think he sprained his foot," Cane said. "Staff said take the baby to the doctor. That was on Wednesday. Thursday the child did not come back to school. And Friday, the child came in."

While Cane admits she has no idea how the child's leg was broken, she points the blame away from her daycare.

"That if mom knew and said something to us, you know, something looks wrong with my baby's foot, mother's instincts to me, is that I'm taking my child to the doctor immediately," she said. "She obviously did not do that, so to me, that is questionable."

The baby's mother has not been charged with anything associated with the case.

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