New York woman named 2018 foster parent of the year accused of child abuse

A woman named a 2018 foster parent of the year in an upstate New York county is accused of child abuse, WGRZ reported.

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Kathleen M. Jackson, 50, of North Tonawanda, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree assault of an individual who is less than 7 years old, the Niagara Gazette reported. She was arrested Dec. 19 for an incident that allegedly occurred Nov. 29 at Jackson's home, WGRZ reported. Jackson is currently free without bail, according to Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek.

A criminal complaint accuses Jackson of inflicting "substantial pain" and bruising a child by "repeatedly striking him in the buttocks and leg area," the television station reported.

Police said Jackson’s alleged victim was a 2-year-old boy, who -- along with his 5-year-old stepbrother and 1-year-old brother -- were placed in Jackson’s care in August, the television station reported.

North Tonawanda police Chief Roger Zgolak told the Gazette that "Because it is an open case I'm going to reserve comment."

Jackson did not respond to requests for comment from the newspaper.

At the time she was honored as one of the Niagara County's top foster parents, Jackson had several children in her care, including two girls, ages 10 and 9; and two boys, ages 12 and 18, the Gazette reported. It is unclear if those children are still with her, the newspaper reported.