HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Multiple state agencies are investigating a Hartford day care after videos of a now-former employee interacting with children went viral on social media. The videos appear to show the woman grabbing one child’s arm and threatening another.
The Department of Children and Families (DCF), state police and Hartford police were at the Kids Creative Learning Center on Main Street Thursday after a video captured the now-former employee allegedly telling a child to “be afraid, be very afraid.”
In another video, the woman appears to grab a young girl’s arm and then yells, “Sit down.”
“That’s very aggressive,” said Eda Alfred, whose 3-year-old son attends the day care. “That’s no way to treat a child. They are little kids, and if that were my son, I wouldn’t be happy.”
Alfred said her son has attended the Kids Creative Learning Center since August. She said while the videos were alarming, she felt comfortable knowing they took action.
“It’s a good school,” Alfred said. “I kind of feel safe with my son. It’s a short period of time. I just started here, but from my point of view, they seem pretty friendly and nice.”
An Oct. 31 post on Kids Creative Learning Center’s Facebook page read in part, “Recently, we have been made aware of a distressing incident involving inappropriate conduct by a staff member. We want to emphasize that the safety and protection of your child are our highest priorities, and we treat any such incidents with the utmost seriousness.
Upon learning of this incident last night, we immediately initiated an investigation and notified the appropriate authorities to assist in resolving the issue. We deeply regret not being aware of these incidents earlier, and it is unfortunate that the staff member who recorded the incident chose to post it on social media rather than reporting it to us.”
The woman in the videos has been terminated, according to the day care. DCF said the videos were first reported to the agency on Oct. 30.
“The video containing child maltreatment allegations was first reported to us on 10/30/23 and subsequently on 10/31/23 and 11/1/23. The callers included the daycare director, multiple parents, and concerned citizens. This is a reminder for all members of our community that regardless of the identity or relationship of the alleged perpetrator to a child, a reasonable suspicion of child maltreatment can be made to the Child Abuse and Neglect Careline.”
The Office of Early Childhood also released a statement on the allegations.
“The Office of Early Childhood (OEC) received a report on October 31, 2023, from Kids Creative Learning Center about a situation involving staff interaction with young children. Kids Creative Learning Center is a licensed early care and education program located in Hartford. The OEC has confirmed that the program has terminated one staff involved with the situation. The OEC is conducting its own investigation regarding this report and may collaborate with the Department of Children and Families to conduct the investigation.”
The director of Kids Creative Learning Center declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
To make a child abuse or neglect report to the Department of Children and Families, call 1-800-842-2288 (TDD: 1-800-624-5518). Learn more at Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect FAQs.