GRPD, CPS, LARA investigating child neglect allegations at childcare center


GRPD confirms three police reports of child neglect were filed on Dec. 7 and 8 which were alleged to have occurred at Little Lights Childcare Center.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Police Department, Child Protective Services (CPS), and the state are investigating child neglect claims that allegedly took place at a childcare center.     

The center is called Little Lights Childcare Center and is located at 839 Sibley St NW.

Danielle Richards’ three-year-old son Kaleb, who has autism, recently attended the center. 

Grand Rapids police confirm to 13 ON YOUR SIDE that three police reports were filed for child neglect on Dec. 7 and 8 which were alleged to have occurred at Little Lights Childcare Center; two of which Richards said she filed against two different teachers. 

In one incident back in October, Richards claims her son’s arm was dislocated by a teacher, but the teacher denied pulling his arm. 

“My son Kaleb and another student were tussling and she pulled him apart by his stomach and shortly after he fell on the floor, screaming and crying and she doesn’t know why,” Richards said.

The second incident happened in February where another teacher allegedly forced her child into a corner. 

“I guess she was so upset she started calling him Special Ed,” Richards said. “As soon as he got out of the corner, she went to him and physically put both of her hands on his and forcefully told him to pick up toys on the ground, even ones he didn’t throw on the ground.”

Richards made a Facebook live post on her page on Wednesday, Dec. 1 sharing her concerns. 

“At that point that’s when I started getting more and more details and knowing more of the abuse going on due to them wrongfully firing a teacher for speaking up,” she said. 

Scott Bloem, the Executive Director of Other Way Ministries, which operates the center, stated on Tuesday, Dec. 14 that as soon as they became aware of the concerns about behavior taking place at the center on Dec. 2, they forwarded those concerns to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). 

Bloem said he couldn’t comment on what prompted the investigation because of the ongoing investigation, however, he sent out an email to families on Dec. 3 stating they’re taking the allegations seriously and they contacted the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to ensure a thorough, third party investigation. 

They also closed their preschool room and any staff members indicated in the investigation will be suspended while the investigation is carried out. 

“I just want everybody to work together to keep everybody safe and to let everybody know and other childcare centers to not want to let this happen. Everything can’t be swept under the rug,” Richards said. 

The preschool classroom is expected to reopen on Jan. 3.

GRPD could not comment on the pending investigation. 

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