Police: Child at West Philadelphia daycare found with crack cocaine in system

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A 3-year-old girl is hospitalized after police say she ingested an unknown quantity of crack cocaine. (WPVI)

A 3-year-old girl is hospitalized after police say she ingested an unknown quantity of crack cocaine.

The discovery was made Tuesday morning at Works Early Learning Center located at 52nd Street and Haverford Avenue in West Philadelphia.

Police say it was around 9:30 a.m. when a daycare employee noticed the child gnawing on something and moved in to inspect what the child had in her mouth.

It was determined that the child was chewing on a plastic packet with white residue and that raised a red flag.

The daycare owner then contacted the child's mother, rushed her to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and notified authorities.

The daycare owner, Sereda Thompson, tells us, "As a mandated child abuse reporter, I'm required to report abuse, neglect or the unexpected such as happened with this child."

At CHOP the child underwent testing where it was confirmed that she had ingested crack cocaine. It's not clear how much was in her system.

Police are now commending the quick actions of the daycare owner.

"The daycare worker did a fabulous job in identifying it quickly, but unfortunately the crack cocaine that was in that packet appears to have been swallowed by the child," Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker said.

Authorities interviewed daycare employees and went to the child's home in the 600 block of North Creighton. Police are working with the Department of Human Services investigating where the drugs came from.

Thompson says, "For a substance to be in a child I know is very disheartening and I would never want any child to ever experience something like that. My emotions are so mixed. I'm not concerned about the business, I'm concerned about the child."

Thompson says the drugs are not from her or her staff.

Wednesday morning many parents arrived at the daycare concerned, but felt better after meeting with the owner, and say they trust the daycare and its employees.

Some parents complained about not receiving a note or call right away. The owner said she wanted to know the facts and is notifying all parents today.

The daycare has been open eight months and police say it is licensed with the state.

Meanwhile, the toddler stayed overnight at CHOP. Her parents tell the daycare owner she's doing well.
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