Police Investigate Child Abuse Allegations At Day Care

Rebirth Christian Academy Under Investigation

Lawrence police and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration are investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect at an east side day care ministry.

Allan Wolf, the father of an 18-month old girl, told Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney that his daughter was attending Rebirth Christian Academy day care on Caito Drive when she started showing signs of possible abuse and neglect.

"When you see bruises on your child's arms, it makes you wonder what happened," Wolf said. "Another big issue was with diaper rash. We found out she was in a high chair for an extended period of time."

Wolf pulled his daughter out of Rebirth and contacted the police.

"It's frustrating, extremely upsetting," Wolf said.

The Call 6 Investigators discovered that the pastor of Rebirth Ministry is a convicted felon, Lasonda Carter.

Court records showed per an agreement with FSSA, Carter is not allowed to be around the day care's children, or the day care will be forced to closed.

Wolf said he was unaware of Carter's criminal history.

RTV6 did not see Carter when this report was filed on Friday.

An employee told Kenney she didn't know anything about the allegations.

"Nobody here," the employee told Kenney.

Rebirth Christian Academy is a registered ministry, which is not required to be licensed by the state, meaning that when state inspectors visit, they're checking only to see if the facility meets about 21 standards, compared with nearly 200 standards for licensed day care centers.

"There is a ton of differences," said Mindy Bennett with Child Care Answers, a referral service. "A registered ministry is not required by law to have supervision regulations. They can put the children down for a nap, step out, eat their lunch, come back and that's still legal. A child care center is not allowed to do that."

Bennett also explained licensed centers have requirements mandating how many children each worker can supervise at a time, but registered ministries do not have the same regulations.

Some registered ministries follow a voluntary certification process, which includes stricter regulations.

Bennett said 45 ministries already follow those regulations or are working toward the certification and that regardless of which type of day care parents choose, they should always check up on the facility's inspection records.

"Even when you're comfortable with a child care site, things can change," said Bennett. "Always keep your eyes open and make sure it's still meeting your family's needs."

Wolf said he now has his daughter in a day care with more regulations and gave parents words of advice.

"Ask as many questions as possible," said Wolf. "What are their forms of discipline?"

FSSA would not comment on the ongoing investigation and would not say whether sanctions could be imposed on Rebirth Christian Academy as a result of the investigation.

To research more information about Indiana day cares visit www.childcareanswers.com or the FSSA.

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