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.