Day care workers on the front line of reporting child abuse

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- "Every day is something different," said Gail Parker just before a 3-year-old asked if she could tie his shoe. Parker has been working as the owner of Love A Lot Day Care in Burlington for 32 years.

"They're full of life," said Parker as she tied the shoe. "Never a dull moment."

The never-ending shaping of young minds comes with tremendous responsibility Parker says, especially when it comes to identifying when a child is being physically or mentally abused.

Over the course of 40 days, there have been two cases of alleged child abuse in the Piedmont Triad where a day care worker steps in to notify authorities and possibly help save that child's life. In early September, a young girl was found locked in a closet and Monday a couple of law enforcement agents in Alamance County were in court facing abuse charges.

"We watch for any unusual scaring, any unusual bruising, any unusual scratches and of course changes in behavior," Parker said. "Some children might not sleep as well as they normally do."

Every day she gives each kid a visual survey to check for injuries, keeps them in a file and has parents sign them. This process is on top of mandatory reporting in North Carolina to the Department of Social Services for anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect.

Child care providers are also required to take child abuse and neglect training on an ongoing basis in North Carolina including how to identify signs and symptoms.

Christopher Wilburn and Erin Rumley were charged over the weekend with child abuse after a day care worker for Wilburn's biological son noticed bruising and called DSS. While the victim didn't go to Parker's day care, she says that worker did the right thing.