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Daycare Worker Gives Melatonin To 17 Kids To Get Them To Sleep During 'Staff Break Time'

Photo: WTHR/YouTube
mugshot of daycare worker

People who we entrust to care for our kids while we make a living are a God-send. They must have patience, empathy and understanding in order to work with children.

However, in the complicated profession of childcare, mistakes and mispractices are something every parent fears. And for good reason.

A daycare director from Cumberland, Indiana, Tonya Voris found a fail-safe way of getting the children in her center to fall asleep when the staff needed a break. Her controversial decision has landed her in hot water.

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The Indiana daycare director allegedly gave children melatonin to put them to sleep.

According to WTHR, Voris, the director at Kids Life Childcare Ministry, gave each of the children melatonin gummies to knock them out in preparation for staff break time. Parents were astonished and angry to find out that the woman had given their children the supplement without their authorization.

One parent, Abigail Hampton had noticed that her child’s sleeping habits had suddenly changed a couple of weeks prior to the disturbing discovery. According to Hampton, her three-year-old would be irritable, while her one-year-old couldn’t stay awake.

“After school, my 1-year-old would come home and fall on our rug tired, ready to go to bed at 6 o'clock. Jacket on and everything. She would come in and just lay on the floor, ready to go to bed,” Hampton said.

The mother had been so worried about her daughter’s fatigue, she consulted a doctor. The pieces all fell into place when a pastor at the church that operated the center called and alleged that Voris had been giving the kids melatonin.

Though melatonin is a natural supplement, it has side effects such as nightmares, depression, irritability, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, and urinary issues.

And those are some of the less serious problems that can occur. Even adults are advised to consult a physician before using it, so parents were shocked that a trained caretaker would behave so recklessly.

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Authorities confirmed that several of the children have, in fact, experienced some of the side effects.

“It allegedly changed the behavior of some of the children. Some children complained of headaches or itching in a time period these things were happening,” Hancock County Prosecutor, Brent Eaton said.

As for Voris, she was immediately terminated and has been charged with 11 counts of felony neglect and six counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges and a $15,000 bond was imposed.

Parents want Voris held accountable for the damage she caused to their children. They are intent on making certain she never works with kids again and that she is found guilty of all charges.

If you suspect a child is being abused, contact the Childhelp Hotline for assistance.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.