A former Indiana day care director was recently sentenced to six months in jail after she gave melatonin gummies to children without parental consent.
Tonya Rachelle Voris, 53, was charged with 11 felony counts of neglect of a dependent and six misdemeanor counts of reckless supervision by a child care provider last year. She pleaded guilty Friday and was sentenced to half a year in jail.
Voris fed the children gummies so they could sleep during nap time in her care. She worked at the Kidz Life Childcare Ministry at New Life Church in Cumberland, outside of Indianapolis.
WISCONSIN’S GOP-CONTROLLED LEGISLATURE VOTES TO END FUNDING FOR PANDEMIC-ERA CHILD CARE PROGRAM
Seventeen children, ranging from infants to 4-year-olds, ate the gummies.
According to the affidavit, a parent originally asked Voris to give her child pediatric-strength melatonin to help her sleep at nap time.
Voris was satisfied with how well the gummies worked, and promptly began administering them to children without parental consent.
The children allegedly experienced side effects, although the specific symptoms are unclear.
“Voris dispensed the melatonin gummies to forcefully induce sleep in several children for her personal gain in not having to deal with fussy or problematic children who would not sleep during naptime which was characterized by several staff members as their break-time,” court documents obtained by FOX 59 read.
STAFFING SHORTAGES, LOW PAY CONTINUE TO CHALLENGE CHILD CARE INDUSTRY
A pastor at the church contacted the Cumberland Metropolitan Police Department after another day care employee told him about the incident. At the time, Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton noted that the gummies had a range of side effects that necessitated parental knowledge.
“There are many side effects of OTC medications and those can impact individuals in a variety of ways depending on any other health conditions, medications, and other supplements present, which is why it’s imperative parents always give express permission for any medication to be given,” Eaton said, according to FOX 59.
CLICK TO GET THE APP
Voris resided in Fortville, Indiana at the time and now lives in Dade City, Florida. She was immediately taken into custody after her sentencing on Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.