Child psychologist speaks on childhood behaviors after allegations of misconduct at local daycare

St. Stephen Childcare and Learning Center, a faith-based facility, is now at the center of a Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigation.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- St. Stephen Childcare and Learning Center was licensed in 1990. Before this recent complaint, the daycare received a few citations from the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

In 2015, it was written up for a Class 1 violation: the improper transportation of children.

Then, it was cited for four Class 2 violations. Among them, the inappropriate methods of discipline and for its teacher to student ratio.

Now, there's a complaint involving a 3-year-old girl, first reported by First Coast News Wednesday. She attended the daycare until this week when the child's parents withdrew her.

They filed a complaint with DCF that their child was touched inappropriately by a boy. They're convinced that is what they see in a security camera video.

"You can't leave children alone never especially in a day care facility,' said her mother, "that is your job to protect and keep them safe."

Two teams from DCF, Child Protective Investigations and Child Care Regulations, are now investigating the parents' allegations.

"It is certain to be a difficult situation for both families," said Dr. Max Horovitz, a child psychologist with Keystone Behaviorial Pediatrics, who has studied childhood behaviors.

"Behaviors that might be considered inappropriate are definitely very frequent in young children in this age group," he said.

Horovitz viewed the two-minute security camera video and had this reaction.

"Obviously it is concerning,' he said.

But he could not determine if this is a case of a good touch or a bad touch. He did say the video raises questions like was the child playing or was he acting out?

"This is likely something he's seen somewhere, in person, in on TV, in a movie," Horovitz said. "It is most likely something he has seen and he's acting out."

The boy's mother told On Your Side the allegations against her son are not true.

She said the two children were wrestling; when her son stood up to pull up his pants, it was because he was not wearing a belt and it fell down.

She said her family is having a difficult time dealing with this issue.

DCF has 60 days to complete its investigation

 

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