Day Care Worker Charged, was Granted DCF Exemption

June 19th, 2009 by

TBO.com
TAMPA – Parents who took their children to Just for Kids, a day care center on Busch Boulevard, probably were surprised when they learned a worker there was charged Wednesday with abusing four children in her care.

If they knew the woman’s background, maybe they wouldn’t have been as shocked.

Dorothy Ann Sampson-Monroe, who works at the day care and may own it, is accused of inappropriately disciplining four children between the ages of 3 and 5 at the business. Her arrest on four counts of child abuse is the latest in a string of arrests that dates back nearly 20 years and includes drug and credit card fraud convictions.

She also was arrested, but ultimately not prosecuted, in 2005 on a charge of aggravated child abuse. And last week, she was arrested on a DUI charge.

Police say Sampson-Monroe’s latest arrest should serve as an important message to parents of children in child care.

“Get names of employees,” Tampa Police Department spokeswoman Andrea Davis said. “There are 100-percent free resources to check on them.”

Police came to the day care Wednesday to investigate allegations of abuse.

“When officers arrived, they were met at the unlocked door by a toddler in diapers with no adult supervision,” a police news release states. “After interviewing four children, officers determined that the suspect, also known as ‘Miss Ann,’ has hit at least four children on the buttocks and legs and at least two children in the face.”

Before obtaining her license, the 47-year-old Sampson-Monroe completed a 30-hour training class and underwent a criminal background check. Public records show she was convicted of drug charges in 1991 and 1995 and convicted of fraudulent use of a credit card in 1988.

Under Florida statutes, felony convictions would disqualify her from caring for children or the developmentally disabled. But Monroe won an exemption in January 2005 from the Department of Children & Families after providing “documentation to support a reasonable belief that you are not a danger to children,” according to her file with Hillsborough County’s office of child care licensing.

A DCF spokesman said in 2005 that his agency would consider an exemption if three years had passed since the disqualifying arrest and the person could show rehabilitation through, for instance, court records and references.

Nine months after the exemption was granted, Sampson-Monroe was arrested after a child in her care was diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome. She voluntarily gave up her license while her case was pending review by the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office.

Child welfare investigators couldn’t determine who shook the 8-month-old baby so hard his brain bled. Ultimately, charges were not filed by the state attorney’s office.

Nick Cox, DCF’s regional director in Tampa, said DCF was not able to revoke Sampson-Moore’s exemption because she was not convicted. As a direct result of that, DCF looked into how it granted exemptions and decided to make the process “much more deliberate and much more detail oriented” and having more people review exemption requests, Cox said.

Hillsborough County child protective investigators contacted police about the most recent incident. When investigators arrived Wednesday, the center was also found to have inadequate staffing for the number of children there, police say.

The county’s child care licensing program is investigating the staffing violations, the report states.

Linda Stoller, manager of the child care licensing program, said her employees went back to the day care Thursday and determined that it was adequately staffed.

“Our major concern is the safety of the children,” Stoller said. “We’ll continue to monitor the situation to make sure the children are safe.”

Stoller said she wasn’t sure why the center didn’t have proper staffing levels Wednesday when child care licensing employees were there. It was toward the end of the day, and parents were picking up their children. Twenty or fewer children were at the day care during the investigation, Stoller said.

Stoller’s office is responsible for the enforcement of child care rules, and penalties could range from fines to suspensions to revocation of license.

“Once I get reports back, I’ll be taking a look at this particular center,” Stoller said.

Action likely will be taken within days, she said.

Stoller said Sampson-Monroe didn’t sign the application for the day care’s license, which was issued Jan. 1. The center was listed as being owned by a corporation, Just for Kids Center LLC. According to Stoller, a woman named Carol Maultsby signed the application form, listing herself as partner/owner.

Because Maultsby is listed as owner on the form, she is considered the owner, Stoller said.

In an interview with the Tribune on Thursday, Maultsby said that while she signed a form, she had never planned to run a day care center. She and Sampson-Monroe spoke of being partners, with Sampson-Monroe running a day care and Maultsby running a day spa immediately beside it.

Maultsby, who met Sampson-Monroe through church, said she ultimately walked away from that deal and has no business relationship with Sampson-Monroe.

“If I signed anything, it should not be valid at this point,” Maultsby said.

Sampson-Monroe told police she was the child care center’s owner. She also said she ran other child care centers, Davis said. Detectives are looking into those claims.

Sampson-Monroe’s bail was set at $8,000. She was released from jail Thursday morning. She hung up Thursday when a reporter identified herself during a phone call.

Sherika Cody said her daughter spent about five months in 2007 attending a home day care run by Sampson-Monroe that was also called Just for Kids. She said she didn’t like how Sampson-Monroe treated children.

Cody said while Sampson-Monroe didn’t verbally abuse her daughter, she saw Sampson-Monroe yell at other children, including a one young boy being potty trained. Cody said she also saw Sampson-Monroe force a boy to wear a skirt because he had wet his original set of clothes.


One Response

  1. kelltikdragun666

    that sick bitch should have been held over without bail,how is it possible for these abusers to slip through the cracks and take care of children,also the people down the line responsible for letting her slip through the cracks should also be charged for putting these children in harms way

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