Indiana Daycare Director Sentenced After Giving Kids’ Melatonin

A former Indiana daycare director got her sentence for administering melatonin to kids without parental consent.

Tonya Rachelle Voris got 730 days in jail, but only 180 will be behind bars. The other 550 will be on probation. The judge also docked two extra days already served after her initial arrest.

In early January, Voris pleaded guilty to 17 charges related to misusing the gummies.  According to Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton, 11 charges were for neglect of a dependent, and the other six were for reckless supervision by childcare providers.

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Police started investigating Voris last year when she worked at Kidz Life Childcare Ministry at New Life Church. They had received a report of child neglect. It turns out that the former director was reportedly telling her employees to hand out melatonin to help the children sleep. Note that the 54-year-old did not inform or receive parents of her lil’ tactic.

As part of her sentence, Voris has to pay $189 in court costs and other filing fees before her probation ends. She’s also prohibited contact with the victims.

How The Indiana Daycare Director Was Busted

In their investigation, authorities discovered that Voris had gotten permission from one parent to give one child melatonin at nap time. The child had “pediatric-strength gummies.”

Instead, the former daycare director had her employees “dispense melatonin gummies to several children.” Over time, 17 kids ingested the gummies without their parent’s knowledge at different times.

According to Prosecutor Brent Eaton, Voris and her husband got defensive when confronted about kids’ behaviors. Parents, at the time, reported their children acting “out-of-character.” Some symptoms shared with investigators included increased sleepiness, headaches, and bedwetting.

Eaton acknowledged in court that studies haven’t proven melatonin to be “necessarily harmful.”

The National Center for Contemporary and Integrative Health recommends caretakers work with a healthcare professional before giving kids melatonin. The U.S. gov. agency says there are uncertainties about the basics, like when to give it or what the dose should be. Moreover, there are not enough studies to disprove the long-term risks or effects on hormonal development, such as puberty and menstruation.

Prosecutor Eaton did emphasize that no childcare provider should give a child “medication or supplement without express consent from a parent or guardian.

Read the prosecutor’s statement below.

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