A 21-year-old single mother, lost her eight-month old son while he was in the care of an unlicensed daycare center in Fort Worth, Texas. The baby was found lifeless, strapped to a car seat carrier, inside a walk-in closet of the unlicensed daycare center. Authorities believe that the baby died by accidental strangulation when he slid down the seat of his carrier causing the strap to cut-off his airway. The mother believed the woman watching baby John was qualified because she heavily interviewed her, visited the woman’s home, and was told that two children were placed in the woman’s care by Child Protective Services. The mother believed her child was in safe hands.
Why protect kids?
Children are among the most vulnerable groups in society. Society puts their trust in daycare centers as caregivers responsible for the safety and well-being of children. Unfortunately, when left in the hands of others, we are unable to protect our children ourselves and must rely on the skills, knowledge, training, and compassion of caregivers and daycare centers. This is why it is so important to consider the following when choosing a daycare for your child:
- Licensing: Not every child-care person or center is required to be licensed in Texas. The licensing requirements depend on the type of care provided, the number of children cared for, and age of the children being cared for. If you are considering a person or care center to care for your child, make sure you look into whether they are licensed, registered, or listed with the State of Texas.
- Violations and Inspection Results: Violations and inspections of licensed facilities are public information. You can request this information be made available to you from the daycare center and also contact the state department or search their website for violations of the Texas Minimum Standards in Child Care.
- Child-to-Staff Ratios: Licensed daycare facilities are required to meet the Texas Minimum Standards in Child Care on the child-to-staff ratio depending on how many children are cared for and the age of the children cared for. Make sure the facility you leave your child at has enough quality staff members on duty to monitor children safely.
- Surveillance Video: In Texas, daycare centers are not required to have video surveillance. However, as a parent looking for safe and quality care, video surveillance is a good thing to look for. Ask the facility if they have surveillance video and if they can show you where the cameras are located, how often are they on, and how are they monitored by the facility? Write this information down so you can refer to it later if ever situation arises that your child was injured or mistreated at daycare.
- Inspect the Facility and Qualifications of the Staff Yourself: Thoroughly inspect the facility yourself. Ask for a tour and use that opportunity to look at the premises, the play areas, nap areas, restrooms, and any other area you think your child will be. Ask for a report on the credentials of the staff members and certification of their qualifications. Check the Texas Minimum Standards in Child Care for the minimum level of education and training hours a daycare facility staff member must have to make sure the facility is meeting the state requirements.
Remember, the above suggestions center around the minimum standards and do not necessarily mean that the facility you have chosen is safe for your child. Do your research in the community and see what other parent’s say about the facility you are considering. Do an internet search and read about prior complaints about the facility or its employees.
What should you do if you learn of neglect or injuries to your child?
Always contact an attorney if you think your child has been the victim or negligence, mistreatment, violence, or inadequate supervision while in the care of a daycare facility in Texas. The Button Law Firm handles cases against daycare centers and facilities in Texas. Consultations with our office are free.
Quality care for children is one of the most important responsibilities society must undertake. It is up to the community to ensure that the safety rules of child care are being followed. Our Texas Daycare Injury Lawyers are here to help you ensure that your child’s safety and rights are protected.
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