skipping background checks on daycare employees can lead to sexual abuseIn 2023, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services conducted 1,169 daycare abuse and neglect investigations involving children younger than four years old, according to a March 2024 report. These investigations include instances of sexual abuse at local daycare centers.

The nonprofit Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reveals that victims know their abuser, such as a caregiver or staff member at a daycare center, in 93% of sexual abuse cases. To prevent these horrific crimes against little ones, Texas daycare laws, also known as minimum standards, require childcare facilities to complete background checks on all workers, from staff members to caregivers, before permitting them to begin work at the facility.

However, that does not always happen. Our Texas daycare injury lawyers have seen first-hand how understaffed daycare centers are quick to place new job applicants with children before background checks are completed or without taking the time to perform the proper screenings. That’s why we are educating parents across the Lone Star State about the importance of background checks at daycare centers to protect the innocence of children and prevent incidents of sexual abuse.

What Are the Components of Background Checks that Daycare Centers Should Complete for All Caregivers?

Texas daycare centers should complete comprehensive background checks on all staff and caregiver candidates as part of the hiring process to prevent children from being victimized.

Key components of the screening should include:

  • Checking Criminal History: Determine if the potential employee has a history with criminal behavior that could pose a risk to children by checking national, state, and local databases for felonies and misdemeanors.
  • Consulting with References: Verify the applicant is suitable for a position working with children by contacting previous employers.
  • Education and Employment Verification: Ensure a candidate’s resume is accurate, and they have the necessary qualifications and training for the role. For example, watch this video to learn the minimum requirements of caregivers at Texas daycare centers.
  • Fingerprinting: Verify the identity of the potential worker with fingerprinting. This background check component prevents identity fraud and is another method to check the person’s criminal history.
  • Sex Offender Registry Check: Screen the candidate against national and state sex offender registries to prevent placing a convicted sex offender with children.

To prevent sexual abuse and other incidents at local daycare centers, all aspects of a background check must be completed before any staff member is permitted to begin working around or directly with little ones at the facility.

In addition, background checks are not foolproof in preventing sexual abuse incidents. That is why daycare centers must also ensure workers are properly supervised, appropriately interacting with children, and complying with all of the minimum standards.

What Happens When Daycare Centers Do Not Complete Background Checks for New Workers?

Children are at risk of being sexually abused when negligent daycare centers fail to conduct background checks altogether or place new caregivers with children before the results of a background check are complete.

When this happens, little ones are victimized at daycare centers and suffer lifelong consequences of these crimes. For example, victims of sexual abuse can develop unhealthy coping mechanisms and mental health challenges such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, self-harm behaviors like cutting, and substance abuse.

Tragically, sexual abuse instances that occur at daycare centers can have fatal consequences. Survivors of child sexual abuse are also 150% more likely to commit suicide than peers who were not victimized, according to a January 2023 medical study.

How Do I Know If My Child’s Daycare Center Conducts Comprehensive Background Checks on All Workers?

To ensure your child’s daycare center complies with the minimum standards to prevent sexual abuse incidents, ask workers the following questions during your tour of the facility:

  • Do you conduct background checks?
  • How often are updated checks on current workers and caregivers to remain employed here?
  • What are the hiring requirements for caregivers at this facility?
  • What is the turnover rate of workers at this center?

A daycare center’s response to these questions will be telling. To learn more about vetting and finding a safe daycare center for your child, download our free guide.

How Can I Hold a Texas Daycare Center Accountable for Victimizing My Child? 

If your child is a sexual abuse survivor because a daycare center failed to complete background checks on its workers, our team of experienced and compassionate daycare injury lawyers at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to seeking justice. We are ready to listen and fight for your family, help your child heal, and move forward. Our legal team at The Button Law Firm is 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. Get a free case evaluation by calling us at 214-699-4409, emailing us at [email protected], or filling out a contact form.

Russell Button
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Dallas, Houston, and Midland Texas trial and personal injury lawyer dedicated to securing justice for clients.