The Messina Law Firm
Child-Care Dangers – What To Look For
Child-Care Dangers: It is an unfortunate fact that those most vulnerable and least able to protect themselves are often those at the highest risk of abuse or neglect.
Elderly persons confined to nursing homes, the mentally ill, the mentally disabled, and the chronically ill are often targets for abuse. Or similarly, the victims of neglect because they are least able to protect themselves. To this list, we can add one more group. Your children in child-care. While the vast majority of child-care facilities and child-care providers you can trust and are responsible, cases of abuse or neglect, while rare, do occur even in these.
Day Care Abuse and Neglect steps to alert you
The good news is that such abuse or neglect is usually preventable. Before putting your child in child-care, be sure to visit the location. Check the facility for child-care dangers. It would be a good idea to drop by without an appointment. So that you can see how the center runs when it is not expecting visitors. Make sure it welcomes you in all areas, and that it does not have any no-go areas. Ask if the center does criminal background checks on all of its employees and volunteers. Finally, ask if the center checks employees for other, issues such as drug abuse or emotional problems.
Ask how it handles discipline
When your child may be disciplined, by whom, and in what way. Make sure that the children you see being cared for seem to be relaxed, happy, and engaged in constructive activities such as learning or play.
You may also want to take steps to guard your child against dangers that could occur outside the facility itself. If the facility takes your child on field trips, check to see if the bus or van is safe and modern. Find out how many adults will go with your children on such trips. Finally, ask what steps are taken to make sure that everyone returns to the facility and hopefully unharmed.
Find out what the child-care center’s policies are
Be certain to ask about having your child picked up at the end of the day, and who will be allowed to claim your child. It is a good idea to identify, in writing, who is allowed to take your child from the facility.
Find out what will be done if your child becomes seriously ill while at the day-care facility. Then discover what steps will be taken if the facility cannot get in touch with you immediately.
Check for Child-Care Licensing
Check to see that the facility is listed with or licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Depending on its size, a day-care center must either be listed with, registered with, or licensed by DFPS.
Although some smaller facilities may not be subject to DFPS inspections, larger ones must be licensed. They are regularly inspected to be sure that state standards are being met. Among other things, these regulations require that an appropriate number of adult child-care providers are available to take care of the children.
How To Avoid Child-Care Dangers and Abuse
Additional steps should be taken to ensure that your child is not the victim of intentional abuse. As opposed to neglect, while he or she is at the day-care facility. When you visit, check to see that the bathrooms do not contain areas where your child could be isolated. and find out how the facility handles toileting issues.
Approximately two-thirds of all cases of child sexual abuse at child-care facilities occur in the bathroom. Also, make sure that children are well supervised during naptime. Child-care providers will sometimes leave the room when the children are sleeping, increasing the opportunities for someone to abuse a child.
All Contact by a 3rd party should be supervised.
It is important that any contact between your child and those not working at the facility is strictly supervised. Abuse often is not the work of the day-care teacher but of those not directly involved in caring for your children. Those such as bus drivers, janitors, and relatives of those who operate the child-care center. One study said that as many as one-third of reported abuse occurs in the hands of the child-care provider’s family members who do not actually work for there.
Keep your eyes open for signs of abuse or neglect.
If you suspect that your child has been abused or neglected at a facility, it is important to act quickly. If your child is old enough, try talking with him or her to find out what happened, keeping in mind that children are sometimes not entirely reliable sources of information. You might also contact other parents who use the same child-care facility and ask if they have noticed any of the same signs of abuse or neglect in their children as you have seen in yours. If you still suspect something is wrong, contact the DFPS or, if the matter is very serious and places your child or others in immediate danger, contact the local police.
If the investigation reveals that abuse or neglect has occurred, call our office. We know how important your children are. We will go to work for you to get you everything you and your children deserve under the law. And furthermore, to prevent the same problem from happening to someone else.
WARNING SIGNS OF CHILD-CARE ABUSE
- Unexplained bruises or other injuries on your child, especially if they are repeated.
- Your child’s continued crying before being taken to daycare.
- Unusual emotional behavior from your child, ranging from complete emotional withdrawal to being overly “clingy” or extremely fearful.
- Bleeding or bruising around your child’s genitals.
- Your child asking to wear additional layers of unnecessary clothing to the facility may be a sign of sexual abuse.
- Texas law requires anyone who suspects that a child is being abused, is to report that abuse.
Reporting abuse in good faith.
What if I’m mistaken? The person making the report is not liable if it turns out to be false. Contact Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Child Abuse Hotline to report any suspected cases of abuse is 1-800-252-5400. It’s the law to report abuse.