Twenty children taken from Bridge of Hope Children's Home in Cr - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Twenty children taken from Bridge of Hope Children's Home in Cross Co.

VANNDALE, AR (KAIT)- The Department of Human Services is investigating a Cross County children's home after allegations of child abuse was called in to police.

"They were just holding each other just trying to comfort each other," said director and owner, Dr. Martha Watts. "They just didn't understand and we didn't understand enough to tell them."

It's been two days since 20 kids were taken from the Bridge of Hope Children's Home in Vanndale.

"Allegations were made that I in some way might have been abusive in some way to the children," Watts told Region 8 News."Parents, not all the time but every once in a while they do that when they're unhappy and someone sees something out of context so it's not really that uncommon."

So Arkansas State Police came out to the children's home to investigate the allegations. Then two weeks later a DHS official showed up.

"She said I came to pick up 4 children and I said why are you picking up then I said who are you picking up and she said I don't know their name," she said. "We were told at 5 o'clock to pick up all the children."

Watts said the DHS official said they would conduct an investigation for 30 days but they acted a lot sooner because they received another allegation.

"The children were crying, screaming carrying on they didn't know what was happening they were so afraid," she said. "One little boy said to me, he said ‘Ms. Martha this is just the worst day of my life."

Watts said she doesn't blame police or DHS for investigating the allegations.

"I just think it was wrong the way that was handled," Watts explained. 

As a retired teacher, Watts said she understands the importance of keeping kids safe .

"If I'm being investigated in some way for some kind of abuse I don't believe any child would say we've done anything like that," Watts said.

Most of the kids have been at the home a year, some even 2 years.

"We want to keep bridge of hope children's home open," she said. 

We reached out to the Department of Human Services on these allegations but no one has returned the call.

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