Sadly, a report from Texas Health and Human Services revealed that 1,415 children were seriously injured at licensed daycare centers over a two-year period.
While parents in Texas do as much research and due diligence as they can do to find a safe daycare center for their children, there are still some documented cases of daycares across the state take shortcuts that jeopardize child safety.
How to Report a Daycare in Texas: Guide
Our Texas daycare injury lawyers at The Button Law Firm have helped families move forward after traumatizing incidents involving children, and are sharing how to report injuries in the event that your child is seriously hurt while at daycare in Texas.
Reporting incidents and your child’s injuries to the state and proper authorities is important because it can help you and your family hold the daycare accountable for their wrongdoings as well as help protect other children from experiencing the same substandard or dangerous care.
If you are on the fence about reporting an incident to the state, know that under Texas laws anyone who does not report suspected abuse can be held liable for a misdemeanor or felony.
Step 1: Contact the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Abuse Hotline
If your child was injured at daycare, it is important to report the daycare’s abuse to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. While notifying a state agency may seem intimidating, your identity will remain confidential for reports made in good faith. You can call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 to speak with someone immediately, and the situation will be investigated within 24 hours. The state agency recommends calling in the following scenarios:
- A child sustained serious injuries
- A child 5 years or younger was harmed
- Instances of sexual abuse of a minor
- Children ages 5 and under are left alone or likely to be neglected in the next 24 hours
- Anytime you believe the situation requires immediate action
In less urgent situations, you can make a report online at TXAbuseHotline.org. Note that the online reports can take more than 48 hours to be processed.
For families who do not reside in Texas, here’s a list of each state’s procedures on reporting child daycare injuries.
Step 2: Contact the Police or Local Law Enforcement Agency in Texas
Getting the police or a local law enforcement agency involved after your child is seriously hurt at a Texas daycare center is important, especially when a child’s injuries were deliberately caused by a daycare worker. Law enforcement investigates any allegations that a daycare employee has violated a criminal law, such as theft, assault, or murder. Involving law enforcement will also ensure that the incident is properly documented.
Common crimes that harm children at Texas daycares include:
- Child abuse, such as using improper discipline methods (hitting, slapping, spanking, and other acts of violence)
- Child neglect, including inadequate supervision of children that can result in burn injuries, improper sleep practices, and choking
- Sexual abuse
The police should also be contacted when a child’s injuries are life-threatening or fatal, so law enforcement can assist with the investigation to determine the person or people responsible for your child’s injuries.
What Else Can Parents Do After Reporting a Daycare Injury in Texas?
In addition to reporting your child’s daycare injury or abuse to the proper authorities, document any information from the incident. Keep track of all correspondence from the childcare facility and its workers. This includes taking screenshots of text messages, saving emails discussing the incident, and photographing or making copies of any letters from the daycare or its workers.
You should also take detailed notes of any phone calls with the daycare as they occur. While it may be overwhelming to remember to document conversations when you are more concerned about your child’s health and well-being, keeping a file of correspondence can benefit your family’s legal case to hold the daycare accountable for harming your child.