An Iowa daycare was shut down by the Iowa Department of Human Services after dozens of violations and allegations of abuse were filed against its director, Linda Vawter-Morgan.
Vawter-Morgan allegedly forced children to eat and threatened employees at Building Blocks Child Development Center in North Liberty, according to staff members.
A DHS report including 35 violations showed medication was left accessible to children and a one-year-old child was left unattended for 15 minutes.
The report says Vawter-Morgan failed to alert parents to their children’s medical issues. One child had a fever of 102 degrees in the morning, but Vawter-Morgan did not tell the child’s parents until they picked her up at 4:30 p.m. The child later suffered a seizure and was taken to the emergency room.
Staff told DHS that Vawter-Morgan, who has worked in child care for 32 years, made fun of toddlers for having potty training accidents, stating in front of a 3-year-old that, “She’s the reason I drink.”
The daycare, which opened in August, has 52 children enrolled from infants to grade school students, according to the Des Moines Register.
Another serious incident in the DHS report says Vawter-Morgan refused to tell a child’s parent that the child had choked on the stuffing from a doll. Staff performed the swipe method to remove the material from the boy’s mouth, but Vawter-Morgan allegedly didn’t want to tell parents because there “wasn’t a mark” on the boy.
Staff said the parents should be notified because there could still be stuffing in his throat.
Employees also reported that they were often not paid on time and checks sometimes bounced.
“In this instance, there were 35 violations, and almost half of them were reoccurring after we had already noted them, and they weren’t meeting those minimum standards,” said DHS spokeswoman Amy Lorentzen McCoy.
Vawter-Morgan and the daycare’s on-site supervisor, Keith Morgan, must return their license to DHS by March 25. However, both are eligible to apply to provide in-home daycare.
Vawter-Morgan previously operated a daycare out of her home in North Liberty. According to court records, she was fined $750 in 2012 for a “daycare-related municipal infraction.”