Daycare workers who forgot child appear in court

Posted at 12:15 PM, Nov 09, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-09 18:40:25-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -  One Henrico County daycare worker is going to jail and one will not. The workers who left a three-year-old child at a county park during a field trip last year left Henrico County Juvenile and Domestic Court under vastly different circumstances Friday morning.

Last November, Judge Dennis Soden said he found enough evidence to convict then 33- year-old Niesha Cannon and 19-year-old Keona Camper for misdemeanor child neglect. Instead the judge took the matter under advisement for 12 months, putting the pair on a redeeming form of probation. 

The requirements included:

  • performing 250 hours of community service
  • writing a 5-page report after talking with a special victims officer, a doctor who specializes in child trauma, and 3 daycare workers
  • writing a letter of apology to the mother of the 3-year-old and to the court
  • visiting 20 daycares in the area to discuss the importance of head count procedures

If the pair completed the requirements and did not break any laws in 12 months, Judge Soden said he would dismiss the charge. 

Cannon completed the requirements, Camper did not. 

In court Friday, the now 20-year old Camper said she'd completed 100 hours of community service, but could not provide proof. 

She also said she went to 15 daycares, but could not remember the name of a single one of them.

Camper also admitted that in the 12 months of probation, she did not talk with a doctor or a special victims police officer.

Judge Soden sentenced Camper to 10 days in jail for contempt of court. He also sentenced her to 12 months in jail with 10 suspended on the child neglect charge. 

The 10 months suspended was added on the condition that she complete all of the previous requirements by March 15, 2013.

Cannon, 34, provided Judge Soden with the letters, reports and proof of the community service required of her. 

Letters from daycares she visited included remarks from the owners about how Cannon's visits and talks reminded them of the importance to always be focused on the job when caring for children. 

The judge dismissed the misdemeanor child neglect charge.

Cannon and Camper were both staff members of Korinne-N-Friends Child Development Center when they took the center's 3 and 4-year-old classes on a field trip to Robinson Park in June of 2011. 

About two hours after the group returned, police called to see if they were missing a child after a young boy was found wandering alone in the park.

Police released a photo of the little boy in an effort to find his parents.  The Department of Social Services said the daycare workers did not realize the child had been left behind.

However, testimony in court revealed Cannon and Camper forgot one child had been dropped off at the park by a parent, so when they conducted their headcount, the number was off by one.