BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. - A daycare in Northampton County is under the microscope after it was shut down.

On July 11, 2019 The Department of Human Services executed an Emergency Removal Order at Sheryl Chapel Family Child Care in Bethlehem Township. The facility was told it could appeal the decision, but that it could not operate pending appeal.
 
DHS says it verified three violations following an on-site investigation.

The first was "relating to general health and safety."

The second was "relating to supervision of children; children on the facility premises shall be supervised by a staff person at all times."

The third was "relating to supervision of children; a facility person may not use any form of physical punishment including spanking a child."

It did not identify the child or name a perpetrator.

"I don't know where they are coming up with that last decision," said Robert Sletvold, an attorney for the daycare's owner. "I have not seen anybody reporting that Ms. Chapel ever hit, disciplined, or struck this child in any way, shape, or form."

DHS said in a statement concerning the sanctions that it "determined that these conditions constitute gross incompetence, negligence, and misconduct in operating a facility likely to constitute immediate and serious danger to the life or health of the children in care. The department determined that the violations constitute grounds for revocation of the facility's certificate of compliance. On Aug. 2., 2019, DHS notified the facility's operator that the department had decided to revoke the facility's certificate of compliance."

Hayley Munsey sent her two sons to Sheryl Chapel Family Child Care.

"It was really hard to find a daycare that could work around our shifts," Munsey said.

Six days before DHS shut the daycare down, Munsey says she got a call from the daycare about her one-and-a-half-year-old son, Oliver.

"She said Oliver fell, he fell on concrete steps. He just has a little design of the concrete on his cheek, and a bump on his head," Munsey said.

Hayley says Oliver had bruises and marks on his entire face, including injuries to his scalp and ear. She said he also had bruises on his back.

"When I l looked at him, I just knew it wasn't a fall," Munsey said. "I was sick. I was upset. I was mad. I wanted to do things I wouldn't have been proud of doing."

Munsey took Oliver to the Emergency Room.

Three days later she got a letter from DHS that said they were looking into "a report of suspected child abuse."

A follow up letter to Munsey in September said DHS determined Oliver "was abused."

It didn't say by whom or where it happened.

"When I saw that letter I was happy because that was a little piece of justice that Oliver got," Munsey said.

Sletvold said it was just an unfortunate accident.

"Something happened between some children and that caused him to fall down and to sustain the injuries that are portrayed in the photos," Sletvold said. "She is sorry the child is hurt, but she did nothing to injure the child and she certainly runs a safe daycare."

The Northampton County District Attorney's office is investigating whether the incident involved criminal behavior.

No charges have been filed. The office said no perpetrator has been determined.

The daycare owner is appealing the DHS sanctions.

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