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More parents say their children are victims of abuse at North Port daycare center

Police arrested two workers, including the director, after a parent reported concerns to officers this month.

NORTH PORT, Fla. — North Port police said they're getting more calls from other parents about experiences of child abuse they had from a local daycare center.

It comes after police announced the arrest of two workers, including the facility director, from Building Block's Children's Center over child abuse. 

However, some parents said they reported trouble long before.

Bobbi Wilt of Cape Coral said her concerns started in 2014. Her daughter was 2 years old at the time.

"I had no doubt in my heart that there were other children out of all these years that probably had been injured or suffered," Wilt said.

Wilt said she picked her daughter up from the center but noticed bruising under and over her eye, along with a cut on her forehead. She said staff told her that her daughter fell and hit a table, but Wilt never believed it.

Wilt grew more suspicious upon hearing other parents share similar stories, she said.

"It's not fair to them," Wilt said. 

While Wilt said she reported the case to the Florida Department of Children and Families, she said nothing came out of it. 

Earlier this month, North Port police received a report from a concerned parent that their child had "visible marks and bruises" after coming home from the center. An investigation then led to the arrest of 51-year-old Evelyn Jennings and 60-year-old Cindy Desrosiers, the facility director.

North Port police said Jennings abused a 3-year-old child by intentionally inflicting physical injury on them while also grabbing him by his arms and legs – resulting in physical injury.  She has reportedly been fired from multiple other daycare facilities. 

Desrosiers never reported any incidents, and she reportedly even stopped another teacher from reporting them, according to police.

Danielle Butler of North Port said she also reported a case to DCF last year but the findings came back unfounded.

Butler said a 3-year-old boy she fostered came back from the center with a mark on his hand. She said he told her a teacher had hit him on his stomach for disobeying, but staff denied it when she brought it up.

Both Butler and Wilt said they never thought the center would ever face charges, despite the ongoing concerns from some parents. 

"I would like to see sanctions against the daycare for not protecting the kids," Butler said. "They're there to help them and it doesn't seem like they were doing any of that."

Wilt said those involved with operations should be investigated be prosecuted moving forward.

Butler said while she recognized the city of North Port is lacking in daycare centers, it's not an excuse for children to endure such abuse. She expressed support for the daycare center shutting down.

Efforts to reach the center and DCF for further comment could not be reached as of Wednesday. 

Both DCF and the Florida Department of Health are continuing to look into the center.

Anyone with additional information can contact NPPD’s tip line at 941-429-7382.

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