• 9 Investigates: Day care connected to abuse allegations remains open

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    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - 9 Investigates discovered a Polk County day care that the Department of Children and Families tried to shut down because of abuse allegations remains open and the agency is allowing it.

    Channel 9's Kenneth Craig exposed the allegations, involving young children at Cypress Oaks School in Winter Haven in May.

    Former Cypress Oaks day care worker Donna Chapman said after three weeks of working at the school, she quit.

    "I saw it from the day I started. The children weren't really being treated properly," said Chapman.  

    Earlier this year, DCF planned to revoke the day care's license amid allegations centered around the former owner, Carolyn Elmore, for abuse, neglect and humiliation.

    But the agency instead slapped the center with a $2,500 fine and allowed Elmore to transfer ownership of the day care over to her daughter, who changed the name of the business.

    The owners of the day care refused to comment.

    DCF said the allegations led back to Elmore, and because she promised to leave the operation, they felt comfortable leaving it in her daughter's hands. Elmore's daughter does not have documented problems with DCF.

    Chapman said DCF made the wrong decision.

    "It was disgusting. It's not a place that should stay open and have any kids," said Chapman.

    Elmore was not arrested or charged for child abuse.

    But under the terms of the agreement, Elmore is not allowed in the day care or near the children.

    If she does return, DCF said it will try to revoke the day care's license.

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