Day care worker charged with child abuse

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 15, 2011

Staff report
KANNAPOLIS — A Kannapolis woman is charged with assaulting children at a day care center where she worked.
Whitney Nicole Belk, 24, of 219 Southeast Ave., faces five counts of assault on a child younger than 12 and one count of child abuse, all misdemeanors.
Lt. Terry Spry said authorities became involved Monday, when parents reported their child had been abused by an employee at Kids’ Korner Child Development Center at 210 Cook St.
The child had minor bruising and identified Belk as the person who caused it, Spry said.
Police then learned the day care had a surveillance video system and watched footage of Belk hurting four other children, Spry said. Employees at Kids’ Korner identified the children, he said, and investigators called in the Cabarrus County Department of Social Services.
Danielle Mauldin, who is listed as a co-director on the Kids’ Korner website, told WSOC-TV she fired Belk after seeing the video. Neither Mauldin nor day care owner Cindy Stack returned calls from the Salisbury Post on Friday.
Police charged Belk on Thursday. She was released on a written promise to appear in Cabarrus County District Court on May 16.
Spry would not give the ages of the victims or say why Belk is charged with abusing one of the children as well as assault. He said only that the charge resulted from “something specific in nature in the act.” He does not expect more charges, he said.
Spry said the day care center staff has cooperated with investigators and that he doesn’t recall any similar incidents there.
“Just like any other establishment, you try to do the best thing,” he said. “It’s hard to hold one facility accountable for an employee’s actions and poor judgment.”
The Kids’ Korner website says the day care opened in 1984 and now serves more than 200 children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. It has a five-star rating, according to the N.C. Division of Child Development.