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Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin

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The Sauk County Sheriff's Department is investigating allegations of physical abuse of a child at a Head Start program operated by the nation. Sgt. Kevin Fults said the department is looking into a complaint it received from a parent. The former employee identified by the parent was one of three Head Start workers terminated last month, said Barb Blackdeer-Mackenzie, nation spokeswoman. The Wisconsin Dells early education program is one of six federally funded Head Start programs the tribe operates, she said. The programs also receive supplemental funding from the Department of Public Instruction. "These are important and top-notch programs,'' Blackdeer-Mackenzie said, adding the program received the highest ratings possible from the Head Start bureau, operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The tribe shut down the program for two weeks in January as officials investigated complaints and because of staff shortages after the workers were fired, she said. Child care workers from other programs are working in Wisconsin Dells until the Ho-Chunk completes new hiring. She would not elaborate on what policy and procedure violations occurred, citing confidentiality, but said the parent's allegations of abuse were not raised at parent meetings during the internal investigation.

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