Horrifying Nanny Cam Footage Inspires Parents To Ignite Childcare Abuse Registry Campaigns
It doesn’t always take horrifying bruises to convince astute parents something is amiss with their children. If we’re being honest, we might as well hold that to be true several times over when a child’s behavior changes suddenly after introducing a new childcare provider.
Chalk it up to nothing short of ingrained maternal intuition. Mom will always know when a hair is out of place on her baby’s head. Often, that means dire consequences for whoever she decides is responsible. Just such reactions to two disturbing incidents in recent years might also spell out a domino effect of sweeping changes to childcare licensing and regulation across the country.
Luke and Whitney
Lexington, KY, mother Tiffany Fields wasted no time following up on just such razor-sharp instincts this past October when her four-year-old son Luke began acting strangely after spending time alone with his new nanny. Fields had hired Lillian D. White through a professional caretaker organization because of Luke’s need for constant watchful care after being diagnosed with epilepsy, heart defects, and Down syndrome. Though he was apparently unharmed, footage from a nanny camera hidden in the home shortly after Fields became suspicious left her horrified and outraged.
Fields looked on as White cursed viciously at her son, dragged him across the floor, and say on the toddler’s chest. Thankful Luke had been apparently physically unharmed, she reported White instantly to authorities. The sitter has been charged with criminal abuse but the fallout could yet reach much farther. In light of Fields and her son’s strife, Kentucky Rep. Dennis Keene subsequently introduced Sophie’s Law, named for a six-month-old infant whose abuse suffered at the hands of a nanny similarly left the state in shock, to improve vetting of prospective childcare providers through a statewide registry.
It’s just the kind of program might have intervened in 2014 to save young mother and law student Whitney Matney from hiring the brutal nanny she and her husband Chris similarly caught on tape brutalizing their one-year-old daughter Raylee. Their own surveillance began when Raylee started sheltering herself behind her mother and father whenever the nanny showed up. The former high school classmate the couple had hired came with encouraging references that didn’t remotely prepare them for what they would witness.
Whitney returned to her child after Raylee and the sitter’s first night being secretly watched by a nanny cam to find the device turned toward the wall. Later, she and her husband looked on in horror as their ex-classmate violently shook and spanked Raylee. The woman they had entrusted with their daughter then saw the camera, stared into the lens, and flipped it to face the wall. Of course, it was too late; Chris and Whitney immediately notified the police, who arrested the nanny that evening.
Whitney and Chris were also inspired to work toward a public listing of convicted abusers – the same kind that terrorized Luke halfway across the country and left Fields stunned and aghast that such a monster could slip through “the system.”
Keene will reportedly look to model his state’s proposed database on an effective and economically reasonable model in place in Indiana. Then-Gov. Mike Pence signed off on Kirk’s Law in late March of 2016 in memory of 19-month-old Kirk Coleman’s death at the hands of an abusive caretaker with a history of violent behavior against children. The registry took effect July 1 under Indiana State Police supervision, making documentation of convicted abusers publicly searchable in the same manner as the state’s sex offender database.
“Senate Enrolled Act 357 is about protecting our most vulnerable Hoosiers – our children,” Pence, now Vice President of the United States, said upon signing off on the law. “This bill provides parents a way to make sure the person they have chosen to take care of their child has not been convicted of child abuse.”
Don’t Dismiss Your Gut
If you suspect something is amiss with your child’s safety in your absence, we urge you not to brush your instinctive nudges aside. For every nanny such as the one who continued physically imposing herself on Raylee after futilely redirecting the nanny cam, countless more continue their behavior none the wiser to devices the size of pin hidden inside toys, clocks, and even fully functional DVD or Blu-ray players. Set a plan into place the instant you notice an unexplained shift in your child or nanny’s demeanor:
- Your child becomes anxious whenever in the caretaker’s presence.
- You come home to find your child dirty and unkempt.
- Your child always seems unusually tired and hungry.
- The sitter becomes suspiciously secretive or evasive about daily routines.
- Your child begins experiencing avoidable accidents.
Again, we urge you not to wait until it’s too late to not only save your child but to make sure a tyrant abuser can never harm another child.