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Texas daycare center accused of withholding water to keep diapers dry

By Marice Richter

DALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas child care center accused of duct-taping children to mats at nap time also withheld water from children to avoid frequent diaper changes, according to an investigation by the state's regulatory agency for child care licensing.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said the Heart2Heart Montessori Academy near Fort Worth was likely negligent in proper care giving, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.

"The caregivers were withholding water from the children to avoid diaper changes," it said in a letter to the center without offering further details. The center did not respond to a request to comment.

The agency is allowing the center to remain open for a probationary period of six months due to a change in management, Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman said.

The agency launched its investigation after photos began circulating in June of a child duct-taped to a nap mat to restrain him during nap-time.

The photo was taken by a former caregiver who sent it to the parents of a child who was taped to the mat. Kristi and Brad Galbraith are suing for fraud and negligence in the incident, seeking $1 million in damages.

A separate criminal investigation of Heart2Heart by police in Willow Park is nearly complete and charges could be filed as soon as Friday, Police Chief Brad Johnson said.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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