Moms say children were malnourished, bitten at Wharton Co. child care

A Wharton County child care center is under the microscope after allegations of neglect and abuse of children there.

One mom told FOX 26 she called police after her daughter came home from Tree Frogz Academy in El Campo covered in human bite marks.

Photos show at least four bite marks across the back and shoulders of Andrea Figueroa's two-year-old daughter. She says that was the evening after her toddler’s second day at the daycare.

"I went to bathe her, and that’s when I noticed she was bitten on her back, her shoulder, a little spot on her neck," said Figueroa. "It was various bites."

She called the police and Texas Health and Human Services and withdrew her toddler from the childcare center after just two days. That was November 18. In January, HHS got back to her saying no violation was "determined."

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Figueroa decided to speak out to FOX 26 after hearing other parents’ stories, including screenshots shared between parents that showed employees of Tree Frogz Academy apparently drinking alcohol and smoking cigars on the job.

"That girl is not an employee here and has not been an employee here for some time," said Tree Frogz Academy owner DeAmber Solis, referencing a photo of a woman with a cigar.

Solis says the photos are from 2018 and those staffers were either fired or quit.

Another mom, Amber England, says she started looking for another daycare for her four children after they came home hungry and thirsty every night, causing health issues for her son.

"They told me, ‘Mom, they haven’t been feeding us dinner,’" said England. "The doctor was concerned that [my son] was potentially getting a UTI—which is rare in boys—because he wasn’t getting enough water during the day."

She says the doctor also raised concerns about her daughter who wasn’t gaining weight while growing.

"The next month is when I removed them," said England. "She’s gained three pounds in the last two months."

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Solis says HHS is also investigating claims of malnourishment, as is her lawyer.

"I am working with state licensing in providing them any information that they need," said Solis.

HHS did not immediately respond to FOX 26’s request for information on investigations of Tree Frogz Academy. The facility’s compliance history shows no violations in the past few months, according to CPS.

Solis says they currently have about 53 children enrolled there.