ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Alisa Walton admits it was a difficult decision to put two of her kids in an at-home daycare.
“Putting your child at a house no matter what is kind of scary.”
Her kids not only went to an at-home daycare, Alisa also lives next to one.
According to Child Care Licensing, Manjula Bandarupalli cared for kids inside her house next door, without registering – making it an illegal operation.
According to an arrest affidavit, the baby’s father dropped him off at Bandarupalli’s home in Round Rock on Feb. 3. Bandarupalli told police the baby and the other children were playing in the living room by the stairs when the baby fell and she found him unresponsive at the bottom of the stairs, continued in the court documents. While she has a gate to prevent the children from going upstairs, she told police the gate wasn’t up at the time of the fall.
While the babysitter told police the child’s injuries were related to the fall, doctors determined the injuries would have been caused “by a violent shake,” according to the affidavit. Doctors say the injury was so severe that emergency surgery was needed to remove part of the child’s skull to relieve pressure on his brain, continued in the court document.
“You can’t shake a baby, you can’t shake a toddler,” says Alisa.
Bandarupalli is charged with serious bodily injury to a child. We spoke with Bandarupalli at her home, but she did not want to comment on the charges.
Child Care Licensing says it checks to make sure daycares are following the rules, and are registered with the state.
“They search Craigslist, they search local newspapers, Facebook, community organizations or posts, seeking out illegal child care providers,” says Julie Richards with Child Care Licensing.
But they say parents need to do their homework too when choosing a daycare. Alisa did hers.
“You can’t just assume they have all their paperwork, you have to double-check, you have to get recommendations, you have to call their recommendations,” says Alisa.
The state has been cracking down on daycares operating illegally. Back in 2014, we revealed the state was hiring dozens more investigators to look into new cases. In 2013, the state opened more than 1,100 investigations into illegal child daycares. The next year, that number jumped to more than 3,200. And in 2015, the state conducted more than 4,100 investigations.
The number of cases has also increased in Williamson County. In 2013, there were 25 illegal operations investigations. In 2014, just under 40 investigations, and in 2015, nearly 50 investigations.
Since the beginning of the year, one child has been injured in an illegal day care and one child died in a registered child-care home in Williamson County.
Due to the number of cases, Williamson County officials and Child Care Licensing are hosting a community forum on Friday, Feb. 26 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. to discuss the importance of child safety. The forum will be held at the Georgetown Health Foundation, 2423 Williams Dr.
Day Care Definitions
In 2014, KXAN News investigated in-home day cares that are unregulated and how parents can check to make sure their day care is a safe one. To find out of your child’s day care is listed, visit http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/