WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The state Family and Social Services Administration has cited Dayspring Daycare and Preschool Ministry for two violations after an infant was given the wrong breast milk.
The Call 6 Investigators have learned Dayspring was cited for failure to report the incident to FSSA, which is considered an administrative critical violation.
Registered ministries and licensed centers are required to disclose when a child is given the wrong breast milk, because it's considered a health and safety issue.
The day care was also cited because two staff members did not have documentation showing they had completed required training aimed at preventing transmission of infections.
Dayspring has 30 days to show proof the staff members have completed the training, according to FSSA spokeswoman Marni Lemons.
The state began investigating after West Lafayette mother Cindy Harris raised concerns that her breast milk had been given to the wrong baby on March 8.
"The day care said another baby had been given my breast milk," said Harris, mother of twins. "I didn't really know how to react. I was surprised and upset with the way they handled the situation."
The Call 6 Investigators called and emailed Dayspring Friday afternoon for a response to the citations but have yet to hear back.
The Indiana Association for Child Care Resource and Referral says it's crucial for infants to get the right breast milk or formula.
"It's important because there might be allergies a child has, such as regular formula versus soy," said Lisa Henley, Director of Child Care Quality Initiatives.
Dayspring asked Harris to undergo a slew of tests for things like HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
"I felt kind of violated they would ask me that," said Harris. "If they can't keep your breast milk straight, how are they supposed to keep your medical records private?"
While many Hoosier mothers get their milk from milk banks, that milk is screened for diseases prior to dispensing it.
Although Dayspring is an unlicensed registered ministry, FSSA can regulate and investigate some health and safety issues.
Last month, Dayspring President Jeff Johns refused an on-camera interview with Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney, but told Kenney the bottle was labeled incorrectly, with an initial instead of a name.
"We ask all parents to label bottles and accessories with first and last name as well as the date and time the bottle was created," read the statement from Johns. "The bottle involved in the incident was not labeled correctly. This bottle was labeled only with an initial and fed to a child whose first name began with the same initial."
Harris said at the time of the incident, the day care asked parents to label the bottle with initials, rather than full names.
"They labeled the bottle," said Harris. "It actually was rubbing off and they re-labeled it under the label they put on the bottle."
Johns told Kenney the day care is updating its procedures and training for workers.
"Since the incident, we have placed a stronger emphasis on our staff reviewing the labeling of bottles when children are received as checked in by parents," wrote Johns in a statement. "We have also reviewed and revised our systems for aiding parents with labeling which includes providing the necessary labels and writing utensils. All bottles continue to be stored in refrigerators that have temperatures recorded three times daily."
Dayspring contacted the Indiana Milk Bank and doctors following the incident, as well as the parents of the child who received the wrong milk.
Cindy Harris' twins now attend a licensed center, which has a system in place for labeling bottles.
"They require a full name and date and it's all written in a handbook," said Harris. "I'm not trying to say all ministries are bad, but parents should be aware that not all day cares are safe for their child. Our 3-year-old goes to a preschool ministry."
Registered ministries are not required to follow child-to-staff ratios, but licensed homes and centers do have to follow staffing regulations.
An estimated 73 percent of Hoosier mothers start out breastfeeding, and 60 percent reach their personal goals for breastfeeding.
Henley recommends asking your child care facility for a copy of their breastfeeding policy , including specifically how bottles are labeled and stored.
Experts recommend day cares label milk with the baby's full name, as well as the date and time the milk was expressed.
"Some child care providers, beyond making sure that all bottles are labeled, also do a color coding, so that's an extra step," said Henley.
Henley said free training is available for Indiana day cares on proper breastfeeding handling, but not everyone takes advantage.
"It varies from child care to child care whether they're really trained on it," said Henley. "Not only can we provide them with training, but we have a pre-assessment so we can go on site and assess their whole environment."
When mishaps happen,
Henley said the Centers for Disease Control recommends testing for HIV and other diseases.
Resources for breastfeeding mothers
Find local child care resources and support for families seeking or using child care
Proper handling and storage of breast milk
Surgeon General's call to action on breastfeeding
Interpretive Guide for Child Care Center Rules
Interpretive Guide for Child Care Home Rules
Interpretive Guide for Unlicensed Registered Child Care Ministries
Indiana Breast Milk Procedures
Indiana Regulations around Infant Feeding