Infant dies at Bradenton day care, staffer tested positive for c - WNEM TV 5

Infant dies at Bradenton day care, staffer tested positive for cocaine says DCF

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A 4-month-old girl died at the Children’s Academy of Southwest Florida in Bradenton. A 4-month-old girl died at the Children’s Academy of Southwest Florida in Bradenton.
A 4-month-old girl died at the Children’s Academy of Southwest Florida in Bradenton. A 4-month-old girl died at the Children’s Academy of Southwest Florida in Bradenton.
A 4-month-old girl died at the Children’s Academy of Southwest Florida in Bradenton. A 4-month-old girl died at the Children’s Academy of Southwest Florida in Bradenton.
The Florida Department of Children and Families is planning on closing a Bradenton day care after a 4-month-old girl died.

Officials say the staff member caring for the girl tested positive for drugs.

It happened on Jan. 7 at the Children's Academy of Southwest Florida on 26th street in Bradenton. DCF says the baby girl was found unresponsive in a crib and was later pronounced dead.

According to a report, a Children's Academy official said the baby was fed, placed in a swing, and then placed in a crib on her side before she became unresponsive.

But, DCF says the surveillance video showed otherwise. According to the video, a staffer had placed the baby in a bouncy chair, and propped up a bottle into her mouth using a blanket so she could feed herself.

At around 9:10, the staffer placed the baby into the crib on her stomach without burping her. According to the report, "[The baby] can be seen on the video attempting to lift her head and kicking her legs." A staffer observed the baby at 10:12 am, and then the baby was found unresponsive at 11:03 am.

Staffers tried to revive the baby, but she was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

According to the DCF report, the infant's caretaker "tested positive for cocaine and marijuana and admitted to the recent use of marijuana."

The director of the day care was made aware of the drug report, but the next day that staffer was back watching over more children. Only at that point was the staffer asked to leave.

Further investigations showed other troubling activities as well, including other employees who propped bottles on babies' mouths and employees who picked up infants by one arm.

Last week, the Department of Children and Families suspended the center's license to care for children under the age of one. And starting Saturday Feb. 1, the DCF will revoke the license for the entire facility.

Around 150 of the babies and young children that attend the day care are funded through the Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County. The organization provides money to the Children's Academy and it provides local families with assistance in picking out a daycare. 

"It's very unsettling, not only for the parents and the providers but for our staff as well," said Early Learning Coalition Chief Operating Officer Sharon Oakes.

The Early Learning Coalition has canceled its contract with the Children's Academy and families are being helped with other day care arrangements.

Oakes said, "They had the opportunity to appeal the termination of their VPK and their school readiness contract and we were notified that they were not going to do that."

Officials at the Children's Academy did not want to comment.

The academy has two weeks to appeal its closure. The deadline for the appeal is Feb. 14th. It is not known if the day care plans to appeal.

There are three other Children's Academies in the area and this issue does not apply to any of the others.

The Bradenton Police Department is still waiting on autopsy results from the medical examiner.

Charges in this case could be pending.

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