Police: Former NH day care worker force fed babies 'on a daily basis'
MANCHESTER — The former Alpha-Bits Learning Center worker who's been charged with abusing children who were in her care waived her arraignment Wednesday.
Details about the accusations against Chelsea Blais, 32, have also been released in the form of an affidavit filed by Manchester Police Department investigators.
The affidavit alleges Blais mistreated children in several ways, including force feeding babies "on a daily basis," calling them names like "ugly" and "b---h," and being "too forceful when bouncing the babies in a seat or pushing them in a swing."
In waiving her arraignment, Blais entered a not guilty plea and did not have to appear before a judge. She remains out on $5,000 personal recognizance bail.
Blais is charged with four counts of misdemeanor simple assault, which each refer to specific actions taken against three different children between Jan. 1 and March 4.
All the children involved are less than a year old.
In a statement from Alpha-Bits, they were notified of the allegations March 2. The affidavit says Blais was fired from the day care center two days later.
According to the affidavit, the Department for Children, Youth and Families received an anonymous tip in late February from a female worker at Alpha-Bits alleging Blais was "abusing infants."
The Child Care Licensing Unit subsequently began an investigation. As part of that investigation, police interviewed two other employees who worked with Blais in the infant room.
Those employees "reported seeing abusive behavior by (Blais) from January 2017 until present." They also told police that behavior was directed all all 11 children in the infant room but was worse with the "fussier" babies.
The employees also went into detail about Blais' conduct.
First, they told police Blais would force feed "several" of the babies, describing how she would "cradle the babies in her arm so their heads could not move." The babies would cry, but Blais would allegedly continue to hold the bottles to their mouths.
The affidavit describes how the babies would then make "'gurgling noises as if they were chocking on the formula ... but (Blais) would not stop."
The employees said the babies would then throw up, spit up, or "scream out more" after the bottle was empty.
In another incident cited in the affidavit, Blais had one of the children in a bouncer seat, facing away from her. One of the employees recalled the child was "fussing," and Blais kicked the seat in a "medium, forceful" manner.
Police also describe an interview with Blais in the affidavit. They say she "initially denied any wrongdoing."
Later in the interview police said Blais "admitted to making the babies" throw up after feeding them. She denied kicking the bouncer but said she would move the bouncer away from her with her foot.
She allegedly told police in the future, if she was feeding a baby that was refusing the bottle "she would just stop and not try to force them to eat" and said "she would not push the bouncers away anymore."
Alpha-Bits Learning Center released a statement on the matter Tuesday.
"We took immediate corrective action and have met with the affected families and staff to address their concerns," the statement said. "Alpha-Bits is committed to providing a safe, nurturing environment to every child entrusted to our care."
A lawyer representing the family of one of the children involved declined to comment, other than to ask for privacy as the family copes with the "emotionally-trying situation."
Blais is scheduled appear in court sometime next month for a probable cause hearing.