Lowell daycare abuse allegation prompts state investigations

LOWELL, Mass. — A Lowell father claims his 18-month-old son was abused by his daycare provider Monday.

Justice Gilkes said he and his wife picked up Journee from a Lowell home daycare on Concord Street around 4 p.m., and found their son bruised and scratched.

“Looked at his face and noticed it was swollen on both sides, and his eyes were purple. Inside of his ears were purple, bruised up,” Gilke said. “I felt terrible at myself that I couldn’t be there for him. Every time I look at his face and just think of her doing that to him, it makes me – tears me apart.”

When Gilkes and his wife confronted the provider, he says she gave two different explanations for the injuries.

“‘Oh, he was crying all day. I don’t know what happened. He was crying all day. He wouldn’t stop,’” Gilkes said. “Then, she switched up her story, saying that he fell. So, at that point, I was in a rage. I was mad. I wanted to defend my son any way I could, but I held my composure. We called the police, the ambulance.”

Journee was evaluated at Lowell General Hospital. An after-visit summary shows a diagnosis of “non-accidental trauma.”

The daycare provider, whom Boston 25 News is not yet identifying as she has not been charged with a crime, runs her business through non-profit Acre Family Child Care.

Boston 25 News tried to reach her at home and by phone, but she did not answer.

Acre Family Child Care also declined to comment on the incident Thursday.

Boston 25 News has learned Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) are investigating the allegation against the individual provider.

The provider has a voluntarily inactive license pending the investigation, meaning she cannot currently provide child care.

Lowell police did not confirm an investigation into the incident.

Acre Family Child Care’s website says, “Acre’s staff of child care specialists conduct over 1,500 visits/year to the family child care homes to ensure the children receive safe and developmentally-appropriate care.”

The non-profit “provides a pathway for women to achieve economic independence by operating high quality child care businesses in their homes,” according to the site.

In over 30 years, the organization has helped more than 500 women launch their child care businesses, with nearly 400 children currently receiving child care services through its network each day, the website says.

Journee is doing well, but Gilkes says the daycare provider failed his family.

“I want her to be put in jail,” Gilkes said. “I want her never to be able to watch children again. I don’t want any other kids to get hurt.”

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