DCF moves to shut down day care center after abuse allegations



POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A day care center that has been a staple in a central Florida community for decades is under fire after workers have been accused of abusing children.
Workers at the day care in Winter Haven are accused of threatening children and forcing some to go without food as punishment. Channel 9's Kenneth Craig learned that the center could be forced to shut down for good.
This day care center serves more than 80 children and has a staff of 18.
For 20 years, parents have entrusted Carolyn Elmore with the care of their children at Cypress Oaks School. But officials with the Florida Department of Children and Families said there have been serious problems at Elmore's school.
"Allegations of abuse and neglect to inappropriate discipline of a child," said Kristi Gray with DCF.
Craig tried to talk to Elmore Tuesday, but day care employees said she would not be at the school to speak with him.
Craig did speak briefly with one staff member.
"Do you know what was going on here? There are pretty serious allegations of abuse, neglect, humiliating kids," Craig said.
"I do, but I'm not at liberty to tell," the employee said.
A DCF complaint against the day care includes allegations that Elmore frightened children into crying and even bragged' about it.
There were allegations that she told children they would be locked in with rats that would nibble on them..
One staff member told investigators that the director scared a child so badly she wet her pants.
DCF has made the rare move of trying to revoke the day care facility's license.
Elmore sent a letter back to DCF disputing a lot of their allegations. DCF officials said Elmore is entitled to a formal hearing.
The day care center continues to operate.