Teaching qualifications

An educator fired for “misconduct” quickly found a new job with the children. Now she faces charges.

Days after being fired from a Greenwich daycare center amid a state investigation into allegations of child abuse, the employee managed to land a job elsewhere working with children in a few towns in there, according to court records.

In a system focused on the safety and well-being of children, steadily bolstered by the Office of the Early Years and the state legislature after a spate of daycare deaths in 2016, it appears the Norwalk woman has found a loophole when her new employer failed to verify it. references, according to court records.

For Amy Tingets, her dismissal following an OEC investigation into allegations of child abuse at Children’s Day School in Greenwich did not prevent her from quickly finding a job at the Goddard School of Wilton in 2019, according to a police investigation.

Two years later, Tingets now faces charges of first-degree assault and risk of injury to a child after police say a 6-month-old suffered “severe head trauma” while he was in his care in February at Goddard School.

Tingets, 39, is free on $ 10,000 bail and has not pleaded guilty. Tingets is then due in court on July 10. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. Goddard Schools said Tingets was immediately put on leave after the incident and has since been fired.

The law, expanded in 2019 when lawmakers approved the CAB’s recommendations, requires all child care workers to perform a thorough background check to ensure they are fit to work with children. .

A representative from Goddard Schools said Tingets’ background check “had come back clear” and that they were not aware of any state investigation.

When asked why the system failed to report Tingets after his dismissal at Greenwich, the OEC’s chief legal adviser said background checks focused on criminal charges and records of criminal records. sex offenders. It seems to ignore previous CAB surveys.

“If a criminal conviction, sex offender registry entry, or child welfare registry entry is identified, an examination is carried out to determine the individual’s suitability for daycare work,” said OEC chief legal counsel Michael G. Curley in a statement.

“However, if, as in this case, such a history of criminal convictions or register entries is not identified, the above review would not take place as there would be no finding of criminal or child welfare services to look into, ”Curley said.

Greenwich Termination

When police were called to investigate injuries sustained to an infant on February 9 at Goddard School in Wilton, attention was drawn to Tingets, the only person who cared for the child that day there, according to an affidavit of arrest warrant.

EMS had been called that morning when the baby was unresponsive after waking up from a nap, according to the affidavit. Doctors later said the child suffered a severe head injury, the affidavit states.

As detectives pursued the case, they were not informed by the Ministry of Children and Families and the OEC of a report they received regarding Tingets 18 months earlier from a supervisor of Children’s Day School, Greenwich, states the affidavit. At Greenwich Institution, Tingets was accused of being abusive and too brutal with children, investigators wrote in the affidavit.

The reports did not reach the trigger level of a DCF investigation, but the OEC has investigated the allegations.

Explaining the investigative process, Curley said information and records are shared between the CAB and DCF and that departments conduct joint investigations into allegations of abuse and neglect at a licensed daycare. However, he said there were instances where the reports did not meet DCF’s definition of abuse and this department is not investigating.

Among the allegations against Tingets on July 11, 2019, she made infants’ heads bow if they woke up taking a nap, and if they did so multiple times, she forcibly slammed their bodies into their cots, according to the affidavit.

Tingets was fired from the Greenwich school within 13 days of the reports for “misconduct with children at daycare,” investigators wrote in the affidavit. Two other employees were fired for not reporting the incidents earlier and the school was also reprimanded, according to the affidavit.

“We cannot comment at this time regarding any pending legal developments in cases involving Ms. Amy Tingets,” Greenwich Children’s Day School said in a statement. “The Children’s Day School, however, wants to let our community know that we always strive to do everything in our power to ensure a safe and nurturing environment for the children in our care. “

No reference checks

Less than two weeks after being fired at Greenwich, Tingets interviewed Goddard School in Wilton on August 1, 2019, according to court documents.

In an initial interview, Tingets provided a resume and references, according to the affidavit. On August 2, 2019, Tingets spent time with teachers to get a feel for the institution’s expectations, Wilton investigators wrote in the affidavit.

A calendar entry showed that she then met the owner, Deborah Lee, according to the affidavit. But Lee told investigators she had no recollection of meeting Tingets, but explained that it must have happened if it was on her schedule, according to the affidavit.

Tingets was offered the job on August 2, 2019, nine days after she was fired from Greenwich daycare, according to the police investigation. She accepted the offer that afternoon, advising Lee that she had to give the Greenwich Children’s School two weeks’ notice, according to the affidavit.

Lee told investigators she did not have notes from her management staff regarding contact with Tingets references, and said it was not common to call a candidate’s current employer to avoid ill will, according to the affidavit.

“[At] At no time did Amy Tingets mention to Goddard School that she was fired for abusing children or for her actions while working with children at Children’s Day School in Greenwich. Goddard School also did not check Amy Tingets’ references from her former employer, the Greenwich Children’s Day School, ”Wilton investigators wrote in the affidavit.

In certain circumstances, including reports that do not trigger a DCF investigation or where complaints are unfounded, said Curley, “prospective future employers have limited information about any previous conduct of a potential employee beyond what is shared in the hiring process by potential employee or professional referrals.

In response to this incident, a representative from Goddard Schools said they are committed to keeping children safe and have met all state requirements for employees.

“The Goddard School of Wilton is fully compliant and meticulously follows the requirements set by the State of Connecticut for child care providers to screen potential employees. This includes performing and maintaining a thorough background check of each employee before offering them employment, ”said Bonnary Lek, spokesperson for Goddard Schools. “The background check of this former employee has come back clear. The school was not aware or informed at any time that this employee had been the subject of a state investigation due to a previous incident while employed at another daycare .

Improved selection process

When asked about the background check process, the CAB acknowledged that regulations require licensed daycares to hire staff with the personal qualities necessary to care for children. Facilities that fail to do so could be cited for violations.

But OEC seems to recognize the difficulty of determining an employee’s suitability for the job.

“The OEC is currently in the process of developing a new background check information system and examining how this system can be improved to support the ability of child care programs to assess the qualifications of staff in the context of parameters of state and federal law, ”Curley said.

The Goddard School of Wilton, after Tinget’s arrest, stepped up its own screening of potential employees, Lek said.

“The Goddard School of Wilton continues to require that all faculty and staff successfully complete new hire training. Working with the state licensor and in addition to rigorous operating guidelines, the school has now improved the hiring process beyond state requirements to include a minimum of two reference checks as well than a reference check from a current employer, ”said Lek.