Hanford caregiver arrested for child abuse, 13-month-old had brain bleed from injuries

Hanford Police say there was one other case of alleged abuse against Courtney Bias before this incident, but it was inconclusive.

Jessica Harrington Image
Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Hanford caregiver arrested for child abuse, 13-month-old had brain bleed from injuries
It's a parent's worst nightmare to drop off their child with a caregiver and pick them up severely injured.

HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's a parent's worst nightmare to drop off their child with a caregiver and pick them up severely injured.

That's what Hanford mom Christin Anderson says happened to her now 14-month-old son while at an in-home daycare.

The caregiver has since been arrested, and Anderson hopes other parents learn from what happened to her son.

Christin Anderson is a mom of three.

Her husband, Shannon Anderson, is on deployment. He's a fighter jet pilot in the Navy.

Running a business, Christin needed an extra hand taking care of Levi two days a week and, from time to time, her three-year-old and five-year-old daughters as well.

New to the area, she asked around for recommendations for childcare.

A close friend recommended Courtney Bias, who worked out of a Hanford home.

"The person who recommended her to me, I wholeheartedly trust," Christin said.

On March 21, 2023, Christin dropped off her daughters at school and took Levi to Bias' house.

A little later, she says Bias started texting her, saying Levi was inconsolable.

So Christin agreed to pick him up early, and that's when she noticed something was wrong.

"She had him on the left side of her body, and he was completely unresponsive," Christin said. "I grab my son from her, and he just - he looks gone."

Christin called 911.

An ambulance and Hanford police officers responded.

Chief Parker Sever says there was no indication of abuse initially, but after Levi was flown to Valley Children's Hospital, his injuries told a different story.

Sever says Levi had blood in the spinal column, a problem with his liver, bleeding behind both eyes and a brain bleed.

"According to the doctors that we talked to, this only could've been a result of child abuse. There is no accident that could've caused this immediate type of damage," Sever said. "It was very consistent with what people call shaken baby syndrome."

As police launched an investigation, the Anderson family stayed by Levi's side.

Shannon Anderson was given a 10-day emergency leave to come home.

Levi was in the hospital for 21 days.

He was on and off of a ventilator and had emergency surgery to remove a portion of his skull to relieve pressure on his brain.

While, miraculously, Levi's personality is still the same, he lost mobility on his left side and is still working to gain it back.

His vision has also been altered.

"We have a lot of work to do -- it's going to be a really long journey," Christin said.

Just last week, Hanford Police arrested Courtney Bias for felony child abuse with gross bodily injury.

She has since bailed out of jail.

Christin learned after the fact that Bias was not state licensed.

She's now encouraging other parents to ensure their child's caregiver is licensed, ensure there's an emergency plan in place and advocate for cameras inside the home should anything happen.

According to the California Department of Social Services, child daycare facilities include child care centers and family child care homes.

If a facility meets the requirements for licensure as described in state law and is not exempt from licensure, it must be licensed as a childcare facility.

General information on several exemptions from licensure and a guide to help parents choose a child care facility can be found here.

Four main groups of childcare providers are exempt by the state from obtaining a childcare license.

  • The first group includes individuals who care for the children of a relative, or who care for the children of one other family in addition to their own children. Certain parent cooperatives, in which families rotate care on an unpaid basis are also exempt.
  • The second group includes public as well as private non-profit programs that offer recreational services. These programs include some community centers as well as most parks and recreation programs.
  • The third group includes businesses that offer limited child care to their clients and customers. These programs usually require that the parent or guardian remain on the premises and that they remove their children within a specified amount of time.
  • A fourth group includes programs that are overseen by state agencies other than Community Care Licensing. For example, organized camps that are overseen by the Department of Public Health and heritage schools that are overseen by the Department of Education.

The CDSS says licensed facilities must meet established health and safety standards through monitoring facilities, providing technical assistance, and establishing partnerships with providers, parents and the child care community.

Records for facilities licensed by the Department can be found here.

MyChildCarePlan.org provides help in finding child care throughout California.

"I really hope this opens parents' eyes to who their child is with and taking the right steps to make sure this doesn't happen to any other child," Christin said.

Christin said there were multiple local churches, support groups and friends who have donated to help with unexpected expenses.

She says she's extremely grateful for the help her family has received.

Levi has one more surgery coming up to replace the portion of his skull that was removed.

We have tried reaching out to Bias but, so far, have been unable to get in touch with her for comment.

Hanford Police say there was one other case of alleged abuse against Bias before this incident, but it was inconclusive.

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