Burned Baby Still in Critical Condition

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

Martha Hickman and Shauna Sistrunk both have young children that once attended the Kids Best Daycare Center. They also share a similar story of alleged neglect by employees there.

"I received three notes saying my daughter walked out the front door and a parent brought her back. I left her because child care is hard to find and I wanted to give them the benefit of doubt. Next thing I know I got another note. I took her out and wrote a letter telling them I expected them to be in control of her, not her in control of them," says Martha Hickman.

The story mirrors an incident last June, when Bay County sheriff's investigators say two toddlers wandered away from the daycare center into the parking lot of the real estate office next door. Workers there called police.

"We really felt like it was our obligation to call. It was very important because I thought what if something happens again," says Jo Ann Revell, who works next door.

Revell knew she made the right decision to call police when she found out an eight-month-old baby girl was burned after tipping a crock pot full of hot water onto herself. Hickman and Sistrunk say they regret not filing a complaint sooner.

"I could understand if it happened once, but not over and over again. We think there's been three published accounts. We're two that didn't complain. How many more are there?" says Shauna Sistrunk.

Hickman and Sistrunk now plan to write the Department of Children and Families, as well as the governor's office.

The DCF has fined Kids Best five times in the past three years, and almost shut the daycare down when the two toddlers wandered off.

Kids Best Owner Jeff Jones has turned down repeated requests for an interview.


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