Wichita YMCA Early Learning Center under investigation

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita mother is distraught after learning Wichita’s South YMCA Early Learning Center is under investigation.

“I felt very comfortable and safe with him being there and obviously he wasn’t,” said Daria Scriven Nelsen.

Daria Scriven Nelsen is a mother of three. Her youngest son, Davin, has attended the South YMCA’s Early Learning Center, a state licensed daycare, since early June.

However, Scriven Nelsen removed Davin, 2, from the center on Wednesday after she said she got a call from an agent with the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

“I was shocked. I was scared. I was really in fear that he may be in major danger,” Scriven Nelsen said.

Scriven Nelsen said the agent told her the Early Learning Center is under investigation and her son is one of three children potentially involved.

“She said that there were two specific instances, one of which where the daycare worker jerked my son’s arm and forced him into place where he needed to stay,” she said.

KSN took Scriven Nelsen’s concerns to South YMCA officials on Friday.

“It’s an unfortunate situation that we are in, but we are confident it is going to be unfounded,” said Greater of Wichita YMCA Vice President of Marketing and Communications Shelly Conrady.

Conrady said a complaint about the Early Learning Center was filed with the Kansas Department of Health Environment. Conrady would not give KSN any details about the complaint, citing confidentiality rules. She did, however, say an employee has been reassigned away from children pending the outcome of the investigation.

“Anytime we get a complaint, regardless of what the continuity of the complaint is, they are removed from the classroom,” Conrady said.

Conrady and another YMCA staff member gave KSN a tour of the center on Friday and pointed out a number of safety precautions set in place.

“We have a facility that is intentionally designed so that it is visible, so multiple people can see into a space at any given time,” she said. “There is never a time when a kid is going to be alone with an adult.”

Scriven Nelsen said she is currently looking for other child care options.

“It just really, really irks my heart, my heart strings because I trusted these people,” Scriven Nelsen said.

The YMCA said it does background checks on all Early Learning Center applicants and requires staff to attend training sessions. Conrady also said the YMCA has launched its own investigation into what may have occurred at the center.

KSN reached out to the KDHE and DCF to inquire about the Early Learning Center case. The DCF told KSN they “could not comment” on the case.

Click here to check compliance for Kansas child care programs.

Editors note: KSN previously reported that no one had returned our calls. Story has been corrected to show that DCF responded and said they could not comment.