Did you know nearly a third of children with disabilities have experienced abuse—be it physical, emotional, or sexual—as well as neglect? A 2022 medical study reaffirmed these staggering numbers. That’s a scary statistic for parents of children with disabilities, especially if their child attends a daycare center.
More than 1 in 10 children have a disability such as hearing or vision loss, epilepsy or intellectual disabilities, according to an NPR story about a report published in the medical journal The Lancet child and Adolescent Health. That is why our Texas daycare injury lawyers at The Button Law Firm are providing resources like this article to help empower parents on how to handle daycare abuse and neglect incidents involving a child with disabilities at facilities across Texas.
Signs of Daycare Abuse and Neglect
We recognize that not all children are able to verbalize, communicate, or understand what has happened to them, especially in situations involving instances of sexual abuse or neglect. In these situations, physical signs like bruises, bites, or cuts are not likely to be visible. This is where closely paying attention to your child’s behaviors is important.
Common signs that signal your child with disabilities may have been abused or neglected at a Texas daycare center include:
- Anxiety or fear about going to daycare. This may be expressed in the forms of faking an illness to stay home or displaying feelings of anxiety or fear about being dropped off at daycare
- Throwing tantrums when left alone with a certain teacher or caregiver or during physical contact such as hugs, holding hands to cross a street, or other platonic scenarios
- Recurring nightmares or difficulty sleeping
- Sudden changes in behavior and temperament such as acting out, showing aggressive behavior, or regressing(for example, a child who is potty trained might suddenly start wetting or soiling their pants)
- Unusual interest in sexual matters like acting out inappropriate sexual behavior or knowing about sexual matters well beyond what they should know at a certain age
6 Steps for Parents to Follow After a Child with Disabilities Is Abused or Neglected at a Texas Daycare Center
If you believe that your child with disabilities has been abused or neglected while in the care of a Texas daycare center, follow these important steps:
- Report the incident to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) by calling the Texas Abuse Hotline at 800-252-5400 so that the incident can be investigated within 24 hours. A record of violations at the daycare center could help protect other children from future injury.
- Call 911 and report a crime has been committed against a minor, if you believe your child has been sexually or physically abused at the daycare center.
- Seek medical attention for your child at a pediatrician’s office, urgent care, or local emergency room. You’ll want your child to be properly evaluated, and medical staff can collect the necessary evidence for a police report, if needed. In addition, children with disabilities may not understand or be able to explain what has happened to them. A medical professional can help determine the full scope of the abuse or neglect.
- Inform yourself and investigate. Talk to the daycare center’s employees and administrators to find out as much information about the incident as possible. Also, speak with other parents to see if other children at the daycare center have been involved in similar incidents or witnessed any inappropriate treatment of your child.
- Contact our experienced daycare injury lawyers by calling 214-699-4409 or filling out a contact form. Your family may be eligible for compensation to cover the medical expenses, therapy, and other current and long-term resources that are needed to help your child heal. We are ready to listen and advise your family on the best approach to hold the daycare accountable and get justice for your child’s traumatic experience and injuries.
Furthermore, if you believe the Texas daycare center refused to make American with Disabilities Act or ADA accommodations for your child that led to their injury at the childcare facility, you can also file an ADA complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. A complaint with the organization can be filed in one of three ways:
- Via mail by completing this ADA complaint form and sending it to:
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530
- Or faxing the ADA complaint form to 202-307-1197
Can I Sue a Texas Daycare Center After My Disabled Child Is Abused or Neglected?
In Texas, a parent or legal guardian has two years from the date of abuse or neglect at a daycare center to file a lawsuit. Taking legal action allows a family to seek compensation and hold the negligent daycare providers and caregivers accountable for your child’s injuries and traumatic experience. A lawsuit can also help pave the way for safer and better accommodations for other children with disabilities. If a child was sexually abused at the daycare center, a family may have a civil and criminal case against the facility.
Our lawyers at The Button Law Firm will serve as your family’s advocate, so you can focus on helping your child heal from their injuries.
Your family may be eligible for compensation to cover:
- Medical expenses to treat your child’s injuries and help them heal
- Pain and suffering that your child experienced as a result of the abuse or neglect
- Lost wages from missing work while helping your child seek medical treatment and heal from his/her injuries
- Future expenses to manage your child’s recovery, including aides or home health care services
It is important to speak with experienced Texas daycare injury attorneys, like our team at The Button Law Firm, who will listen and advocate for the best path forward for you and your family.
More Daycare Safety Resources for Parents of Children with Disabilities
Our Texas daycare injury lawyers have created additional free resources to help parents of children with disabilities find the best daycare for their children:
- Find a safe daycare center for a child with disabilities, including the three most important things to consider.
- Guide to a daycare center for children who have physical disabilities, including tips to find the best daycare for your child, a facility’s legal responsibilities, and more.
- Guide to child care for children with emotional, behavioral, or physical disabilities, including your child’s rights according to the ADA, signs of daycare abuse, and other helpful tips.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Texas Daycare Injury Lawyers If Your Child with Disabilities Experiences Abuse or Neglect
Our team of experienced and compassionate daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to advocating for you and your family if your child with disabilities is abused or neglected while in the care of a Texas daycare center. With attorneys in Dallas, Houston, and Midland, we are ready to listen, fight for your family, and help your family move forward. Our attorneys at The Button Law Firm are recognized on the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers list, and we can help guide you after a traumatizing incident involving your child. We work on contingency, meaning we don’t charge you or collect any upfront fees to get started on your case. Call us at 214-699-4409 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.