COPY-Day care worker charged with assaulting children in Kannapolis

KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) - A former day care center employee has been charged with assaulting five children at a day care in Kannapolis.

Whitney Belk is accused of hurting children at Kids' Korner Child Development Center located on Cook Street. She is facing five counts of assaulting children.

According to the Kannapolis Police Department, the assaults occurred in recent weeks. Police said they were alerted to the situation after parents complained.

Belk was seen on day care surveillance video mistreating five different children, police said.

The founder of Kids' Korner, Cindy Stack, said Belk was fired after the child care center's administrator viewed the surveillance video.

Stack said police told her not to tell parents or anyone else about the accusations until Belk was officially charged.

Once the charges were filed on Thursday, Stack and her daughter, who also manages Kids' Korner, organized a meeting with parents Thursday night.

Several parents told WBTV they still support Kids' Korner and are not planning to remove their kids from the facility.

"I really hope people can look past what happened at the center and realize that it was one person," said Rachel Willert, who has three kids enrolled at the day care center. "These things happen and it's about how you handle them and I feel like the center handled them in a very professional manner."

Parents said they appreciated Kids Korner holding the meeting and are glad the center didn't try to cover-up the allegations.

Belk worked at Kids Korner' for nearly four years, Stack said.

Parents said they are concerned someone they trusted could be accused of assaulting a child.

"It's kind of scary," said parent Dana Hood. "She'd been here for a while, so it makes you wonder what other incidents there may have been."

Stack says she founded Kids Korner' in 1984, and the day care center has never had a situation like this before.

More than 200 children use the center, which watches over kids from the time they are babies to when they are 12 years old.

We're told Belk supervised children at the center who were four years old.

According to the North Carolina Division of Child Development's web site, Kids Korner has a five star rating, which is the highest the department gives out.

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