Cincinnati daycare’s license suspended after worker accused in 1-year-old’s violent assault

The worker allegedly carried her across the room by the hair and ripped it out, then tried to hide what happened.
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 4:25 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has suspended the license of a Cincinnati daycare where a worker is accused of violently assaulting a 1-year-old.

Small Kids Adventures Learning Center in West Price Hill must cease operations at 6 p.m. Tuesday, according to a Cincinnati police spokesperson.

The center will remain closed until the investigation is complete and a final determination of its license status is made.

The incident happened March 3, according to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.

Daycare worker Kristian Hemmitt, 27, allegedly grabbed the child by the hair, lifted her off the ground and dragged her across the room. She then allegedly jerked the child back and forth, ripping the hair from her scalp.

ODJFS commissioned a report on the incident that found the child was “grabbed by the ponytail, thrown to the ground [...]causing the ponytail to become detached from the head.”

Afterward, Hemmitt tried covering the child’s bald spots and threw the hair away in a trash can, Deters said citing court records.

A Hamilton County grand jury last week inducted Hemmitt on charges of assault, child endangering and tampering with evidence.

Said Deters, “This is every working parent’s worst nightmare. To leave your child at a facility that is responsible for their care and to have this happen is sickening. There is simply no justification for why someone would do this to a 1-year-old baby.”

The daycare’s history with ODJFS inspections shows repeated rule violations, including a chronic failure to perform background checks and incomplete records-keeping.

The daycare has never achieved full compliance in any inspection dating back to October 2019, and every annual inspection since then has found at least 57 instances of rule breaking.

An ODJFS inspection in January 2020 was launched upon a complaint that an unidentified daycare staff member had “yelled at children and used inappropriate words to redirect behavior,” according to the report summary.

ODJFS inspected the facility on March 10, 2022, seven days after the incident allegedly involving Hemmitt. Investigators were able to substantiate that a staff member had used “cruel, harsh, unusual or extreme techniques” in managing unacceptable behavior in children.

They recommended the individual be released from employment immediately.

The same inspection found “the administrator, child-care staff, and/or employees of the program did not protect or remove a child from a situation and/or person determined to be unsafe, which resulted in a serious incident or injury to a child[...]”

Hemmitt was arrested March 19. She remains at the justice center on bail totaling $170,000 across her charges.

Cincinnati police are still investigating to see if other children were harmed in Hemmitt’s care. That investigation is ongoing.

Parents who suspect their child might be a victim are urged to call Cincinnati Police Detective McCoy or Detective Delk at 513-263-8300.

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