Yesterday Dallas police arrested a former employee of Bryan’s House -- the local care center for kids affected by HIV/AIDS -- on charges that she caused significant injuries to a 5-month-old boy sometime in March. After the injuries were discovered, through a routine X-ray, CPS officials removed 18 foster children from the care center’s residential treatment program. Doctors said the 5-month-old had suffered both a broken collarbone and an injured leg, and that both injuries were at least a week old, if not longer.
The residential wing of Bryan’s House is still empty, and it will remain empty until CPS begins placing kids there again. David Thomas, the director of the facility, informed Unfair Park of the arrest this afternoon. He says he met with CPS officials yesterday in Austin, and that it will be several more weeks before children are again placed at the center. (Update: The woman who was arrested has been named by Dallas police: She is 27-year-old Tanisha Lacy.)
“We have to show them we’re taking the necessary precautions,” he tells Unfair Park.
While more than a month has passed since the injuries to the 5-month-old were discovered, Thomas says he still doesn’t know exactly how they happened. He says police are confident the former employee caused the injuries, but Thomas says there is nothing to suggest she did it “maliciously.”
“It could have been an accident,” he insists.
Thomas said the employee, who he did not name, worked at Bryan’s House for three years, and he had never heard any complaints about her performance. She was working the midnight shift when the injuries occurred, he said.
Thomas hopes the arrest can bring closure to what has been perhaps the ugliest chapter in the facility’s 20-year history. The story of the injured child made the front page of The Dallas Morning News, and since then the day care has gone from 40 to 45 kids a day to 15 to 20 today
“We’re ready to move forward,” Thomas says, “and put this behind us.”
It is worth noting that in its history, Bryan's House has never before faced allegations of this kind. In fact, Ed Leibgott, the executive director of Youth for Tomorrow, which evaluates child care providers across the state, has told Unfair Park he considers Bryan's House a top-tier program. "It's the kind of place I would send my children if I had to," he said. --Jesse Hyde
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