Young child in blue jacket and hat outside alone in snow.What Happened to This Child?

When parents drop their children off at daycare, they expect their child to enjoy a day of play under careful supervision of trained employees. However, that was not the case for one family in Missouri.

Just like any other day, our three-year-old client was dropped off at their daycare. It was a cold day in February—only 23 degrees outside in the afternoon, and there were several inches of snow on the ground.

On the day of the incident, the daycare employee propped open the door to the playground, a negligent action which was later determined to be a common practice at this facility. The children and door were left unsupervised, which allowed the young child to wander outside, alone in the cold weather.

The door was later shut and locked, leaving the child alone outside in the cold for around half an hour. The child was not wearing a coat or jacket appropriate for the outdoor weather at the time. They weren’t discovered until another parent came to pick up their child, when the parent heard crying and struggling from the back of the building. After some investigation, the parent found the child outside, not wearing a jacket, gloves, or any other weather appropriate clothing. Had this concerned parent not insisted on finding the source of the crying they heard, it is possible the child wouldn’t have been found until their own parent came to pick them up.

Unfortunately, this child’s parents did not learn of the incident right away. The parent who found the child reached out to the director, who was unaware of the child being locked outside. The director didn’t call the child’s parents until more than an hour after the child was found outside in the snow.

This type of situation would be uncomfortable and stressful for an adult, especially considering the frigid temperature and weather conditions. But for the three-year-old child, the situation has proven to be devastating. 

Those 30 minutes outside resulted in severe anxiety that affects nearly every aspect of this child’s life, from sleep to appetite to their interactions with other children and adults. The child now is terrified of being alone and must hold hands with someone wherever they go.

In search of holding someone accountable for what happened, so this could never happen to another child again, the child’s family hired The Button Law Firm to handle their claim of negligent supervision against the daycare.

How Was This Incident Preventable?

Kids look to their daycare caregivers to provide them with a secure environment. That was ripped away from this young child, leaving them mistrustful of the adults now responsible for their care.

The most devastating part of this case—it was entirely preventable. Licensed daycares in Missouri are required to follow strict rules and regulations set forth by the state. An investigation found the daycare violated the minimum standards of care, specifically “supervision and basic care shall be provided” at all Missouri state-licensed daycares.

The daycare also violated several of their own policies and procedures outlined in the parent handbook, including a plan employees are supposed to follow if a child cannot be located. At this daycare, the employee did not keep a class attendance list, which is also against the facility’s own policies. The daycare’s handbook mandates that the doors are always secured for safety reasons, which clearly wasn’t followed. The Missouri state investigator also found that the daycare was out of ratio that day and the incorrect staff-to-child ratio played a part in the incident occurring.

These damaging incidents can be prevented if daycares properly train their employees and regularly review policies to ensure they are being followed consistently. Daycares should also ensure there are enough adults in the room to properly supervise all children, especially when they are moving from one room to another.

How the Button Law Firm Team Helped This Family After Their Child Was Neglected at Daycare

In these instances, it is important to hold the daycare accountable to ensure something like this never happens again. Thankfully, the family turned to The Button Law Firm, and we helped this family find closure to help the young child and their family move forward.

Our investigation revealed that this daycare had a recent history of failing to properly supervise children in their care and failing to maintain state mandated minimum staff-to-child ratios. Our team discovered that one of the ways this daycare is able to cover up past incidents of concern at their daycare is they fail to complete incident reports when incidents like this one occur.

Our team worked with local Missouri daycare injury lawyers at Finney Law Office to assist the family in seeking the treatment needed for their child to start healing the emotional, mental, and psychological injuries they were forced to endure. Our teams worked tirelessly to shed light on the history of failures at this daycare to ensure that they quit cutting corners, start training staff properly, and provide adequate supervision to the children they are entrusted to care for. Together, our team secured a fair and confidential out-of-court settlement with the daycare’s insurance company

How You Can Get Help from the Button Law Firm

If you or a loved one have experienced a situation like this or other abuse or neglect at the hands of a daycare facility, please reach out to us today. Daycare neglect and abuse claims can be complicated. There are many layers to the potentially available evidence against the daycare in the form of public records and other materials, videos, and items. In order to preserve all of the necessary evidence in your case, it is important your team gets involved early.

We keep it simple when it comes to getting in contact with the experienced team you need for your child. Contact us by calling 214-699-4409 or filling out the contact form at the bottom of this page. You can also reach out to us by completing the form on this page or hitting the chat button to chat with a team member.


DISCLAIMER: The results are specific to the facts and legal circumstances of each of the clients' cases and should not be used to form an expectation that the same results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client's case.