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DHHS: Man accused of assaulting child plans to open summer camp

By WCTI Staff
Published On: Apr 29 2014 02:50:08 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 04 2014 05:18:54 PM CDT
Darwin Earl Woolard
WASHINGTON, BEAUFORT COUNTY -

A Beaufort County man, whose daycare was shut down because he allegedly assaulted a 3-year-old, is planning to open a summer camp and an after-school program.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Darwin Earl Woolard is planning to operate a camp over the summer and an after-school program in the fall.

Woolard was arrested on April 30 and charged with assault on a child under twelve. According to the Washington Police Department, Woolard hit a 3-year-old in the face with an open hand.

Woolard was able to bond out of jail.

Two days before Woolard's arrest, the DHHS shut down his child care center, Kingdom Kids Academy at 148 Avon Avenue in Washington.

According to the the DHHS' Division of Child Development and Early Education, they received a report on April 23 alleging "inappropriate discipline and treatment of children" at Kingdom Kids Academy.

The DHHS listed the following violation took place.

"Corporal punishment was used. A three-year-old child was popped in the face two times by a provider and a child was pulled by the ear across the carpet."

Although the DHHS has disqualified Woolard from owning, operating or working in a child care facility, summer camps and after-school programs are exempt from being licensed as outlined in the Child Care Law, said Kirsti Clifford of the DHHS.

Clifford said licensing for summer camps and after-school programs is not required unless they want to participate in the N.C. Subsidized Child Care Program.

Police said their investigation of Woolard is ongoing.

PREVIOUS STORY:

Just two days after a Beaufort County child care center was shut down by the DHHS, the owner has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a 3-year-old child.

According to the Washington Police Department, 45-year-old Darwin Earl Woolard was arrested on Wednesday and charged with assault on a child under twelve. Investigators said Woolard hit a 3-year-old in the face with an open hand.

Woolard is the owner of Kingdom Kids Academy at 148 Avon Avenue in Washington. But the Department of Health and Human Services suspended the center's license on Monday.

According to the the DHHS' Division of Child Development and Early Education, they received a report on April 23 alleging "inappropriate discipline and treatment of children" at Kingdom Kids Academy.

DHHS inspectors visited Kingdom Kids Academy on April 25 and listed the following violation that took place.

"Corporal punishment was used. A three-year-old child was popped in the face two times by a provider and a child was pulled by the ear across the carpet."

Woolard's bond was set at $10,000, but he has since bonded out of jail. His court date is scheduled for May 20.

"Based on the pending charges, DHHS's Division of Child Development and Early Education will disqualify Mr. Woolard from owning, operating or working in a child care facility," said Kevin Howell of the DHHS.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

NewsChannel 12 spoke with the mother of the children who were allegedly abused. Mikesha Midgette said she was shown surveillance video of what happened.

"He had beaten both of them," Midgette said. "He had hit one of them with a shoe, they cried, they cried to the top of their lungs. It was almost a scream I had never heard before. You can't sugarcoat it. It's on camera. What can you say? Regardless of what the kids did, if you can't handle them, send them home."

PREVIOUS STORY:

The Department of Health and Human Services has suspended the license of a Beaufort County childcare provider after complaints that corporal punishment was allegedly used against children.

According to the the DHHS' Division of Child Development and Early Education, they received a report on April 23 alleging "inappropriate discipline and treatment of children" at Kingdom Kids Academy at 148 Avon Ave. in Washington.

DHHS inspectors visited Kingdom Kids Academy on April 25. The Division of Child Development lists the following rule violation at the facility:

"Corporal punishment was used. A three-year-old child was popped in the face two times by a provider and a child was pulled by the ear across the carpet."

On Monday, the DHHS suspended the license of Kingdom Kids Academy, which was ordered to close at the end of the business day.

"The summary suspension is based on conditions at the center representing an unsafe environment for children and an imminent danger to the health, safety, and welfare of children receiving care at the center," stated the DHHS.

NewsChannel 12 spoke with the mother of the children who were allegedly abused. Mikesha Midgette said she's known the owner of Kingdom Kids Academy for years.

"I trusted them with my kids for so many hours a day, Monday through Friday, and then this happens," Midgette said. "I'm very disturbed about it, because I feel like no one has the right to put their hands on my kids."

Midgette said she wasn't notified until days later, and was shown the alleged abuse on surveillance video.

"He had beaten both of them," Midgette said. "He had hit one of them with a shoe, they cried, they cried to the top of their lungs. It was almost a scream I had never heard before. You can't sugarcoat it. It's on camera. What can you say? Regardless of what the kids did, if you can't handle them, send them home."

DHHS spokesperson Kevin Howell released the following statement:

"Since we were first informed of this situation, DHHS has been in close contact with local law enforcement and the county DSS to ensure the safety of the children being served by the center. In addition, we are working closely with the Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children, Beaufort County DSS and NC Pre-K to assist parents in finding safe and quality care for their children."

Kingdom Kids Academy has 30 days to send in an appeal.

For parents affected by the shutdown of the center, visit the website of Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children, www.beaufortcountykids.org, to find alternative child care.

This is not the first time Kingdom Kids Academy has been under investigation. According to the Division of Child Development, they visited the childcare center on Feb. 4, 2013 and confirmed that children were not adequtely supervised.

"A 2-year-old child was able to leave the group while outside playing and walk across a street unbeknownst to the staff member," stated a report on the DCD website.