Fontana nanny cam arrest turns focus on signs of child abuse

FONTANA, CA -- A Yucaipa woman hired as a nanny was caught on camera allegedly abusing two year-old twins she was supposed to be caring for.

The mother of the children who were abused spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News. An expert says the twins may have been traumatized and afraid to sleep when the nanny was in the house.

"She was nice, we did a trial period, she was good with my older kids," said the mother, who did not want to be identified.

And there are times in the footage where nanny Dana Cash does seem nice. In one instant, for example, the 34-year-old is seen hugging the 1-year-old boy. But then in another shot, with the boy's twin sister, her patience seems to break. Cash is seen putting her hand over the mouth of the 1-year-old girl and shaking her.

The mother says Cash had a clean record, according to her research on the website care.com. So what can a parent do to find a responsible care provider or detect behavior that could be harming your child?

Vonda Dennis is a certified specialist in parenthood and childcare, and trains women who will be teaching childcare. One sign of a good nanny, she says, is a background in early childhood education.

"That kind of shows of something about what your field of study is, actually where your love and your passion lies," Dennis said.

In regards to installing a nanny camera, she says, too late, your child has already been traumatized. While the footage might provide evidence for prosecution, she says it's better to watch for changes in your child's behavior, anything unusual happening that doesn't seem good.

"Any excessive crying, if that's not what the child normally does, their aggression or if they draw away," Dennis said.

In this case, it was the twins' 8-year-old brother seen in the video who told his mom about this particular incident. But the mother tells Eyewitness News it took hours of tedious scrolling through the video to find it and other questionable acts.

She says she realized too late, the babies had been showing signs of distress, but she thought it was just a phase.

"They had been getting up at night, been crying more, you know, in the evening when we were with them, and just more restless," she said. But after Cash left, the twins are now "back to their happy selves," the mother said. "We realize now that it was probably her."

Dennis says another reason to tune into your child is that while nanny cams may fail, your instincts won't.

"We must look to our children for the answers, they are there," Dennis said.

Cash was arrested by San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies on Oct. 2 on suspicion of child abuse. She is now out on bail. The case remains under investigation.


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