Two mothers shared their stories on Facebook, alleging that the same day care waxed the hair between their kids' eyebrows. But the Boys & Girls Club, which runs the Pasco day care, said the allegations are "unsubstantiated."
Keep your hands — and your eyebrow-waxing strips — off their children.
That’s the message two mothers wanted the staff at a day care to hear when they took to Facebook last week alleging that someone at the day care in Pasco had waxed their kids’ eyebrows.
A state investigation into the alleged incident is ongoing, but the Boys & Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties, which runs the day care at Columbia Basin College, said in a statement Wednesday that after an internal review the organization found the allegations to be “unsubstantiated.”
Now one of the mothers, Alyssa Salgado — who claimed her girl’s slight “unibrow” was waxed last week — is saying there’s “no way” the day care’s internal review and conclusions could be thorough.
“That’s not OK. It’s not enough time for a proper investigation,” she said after learning about the Boys & Girls Club statement. “If they want to go round and round, that’s fine. I’m willing to go to bat for my daughter.”
The state’s Department of Early Learning says there was enough concern to open an investigation and expects to issue formal response in about a month.
Salgado claims that when she picked up her nearly 2-year-old child from day care on Thursday she saw what she described as a telltale red mark between the little girl’s eyebrows. When she looked more closely, the mother said she saw that someone had removed some of her “baby hairs.”
She was outraged that anyone would think it was OK to alter something on the body of another person’s child, and also it hurt her to think the staff was “critiquing” her daughter’s appearance.
“I gave birth to her, and the way she came out is perfect,” she said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I love my baby the way she is.”
Salgado took to Facebook to broadcast her distress last week after reporting the incident to police, the directors of the day care, Child Protective Services and the state Department of Early Learning. Nobody seemed to take her concerns seriously and some even laughed, she said.
Since then, her post has been shared more than 21,000 times and garnered hundreds of comments. It also opened the door for other mothers to share similar incidents, she said.
The second mother, Glenda Maria Cruz, responded, saying the same thing happened to her son at the same day care on the same day.
Frank Ordway, the assistant director of Government and Community Relations for the Department of Early Learning, said a formal complaint has been filed with the agency and an investigation is underway.
“If somebody was waxing the eyebrows of a 2-year-old, we’ve got a problem here,” Ordway said. Investigators will interview parents and children as well as facility staff, management and volunteers to sort out what happened and if there are systemic or operational issues that allowed anything improper to take place, Ordway said.
Ordway said he expected a formal response to the complaint within about 30 days. He said the complaint did not rise to the level where the agency believed children were in danger or being neglected, so it didn’t require immediate action from the agency or the involvement of Child Protective Services.
In its statement, the Boys & Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties said it had completed an “internal fact-finding” and found accusations of eyebrow waxing “unsubstantiated.”
“It’s too early for us to say anything about that. They might have run their own investigation, but they’re not the licensing entity in this case. We are,” Ordway said. “There was clearly enough there for us to open a complaint.”
Salgado, who is student at the community college, said she pulled her daughter out of day care and has not returned to her classes since then. She can’t until she feels she has a safe child-care situation, she said.
“I just want them to figure out who did this to my daughter,” she said. “I don’t feel comfortable leaving my children there now.”
“I didn’t think this would get this much attention,” Salgado said. “It’s hard, but I feel I have to give a voice to the voiceless ’cause these kids can’t speak.”
Seattle Times staff reporter Evan Bush contributed to this report.