Children ages 5 and younger make up 7.8% of Harris County’s population, ranking higher than the state and national averages, according to a 2021 early education report prepared by the Mayor’s Office of Education and Houston’s Pre-K Leadership Council. This means more working parents in Houston are reliant on daycare centers to assist with childcare during the workday; therefore, they have to trust that local childcare facilities are properly hiring and training caregivers who are charged with their child’s wellbeing.
However, the increased demand for childcare paired with the rising costs of running a business, plus daycare centers in Houston looking to maximize profits, may result in facilities cutting corners regarding their hiring and training practices. These reckless business decisions can compromise the safety of Houston children and lead to serious injuries that are otherwise easily preventable under the watch of skilled caregivers.
Our experienced Houston daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm are educating parents about this important safety issue in daycare centers across the metro area: Atascocita, Bellaire, Clear Lake, Conroe, Cypress, Deer Park, Friendswood, Houston, Humble, Jersey Village, Katy, Lake Jackson, League City, Missouri City, Pasadena, Pearland, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, and Tomball. If your child was hurt while in the care of an unqualified caregiver at a local daycare center, call us at 281-857-6116 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.
What Are the Minimum Standards for Houston Daycare Workers and Caregivers?
All daycare centers in Houston are required to comply with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) minimum standards for all aspects of childcare. A significant number of these guidelines are focused on regulating workers and caregivers at the daycare center. This makes sense given that taking care of multiple children requires a unique skill set and training.
However, parents may be surprised to learn the list of requirements to work at a Houston daycare facility is short, considering how important the job is. The state requires that daycare workers:
- Be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or the equivalent
- Pass a background check that includes criminal background, sex offender registry, and child abuse or neglect findings
- Complete a notarized licensing affidavit swearing to the worker’s criminal background history
- Have a current medical record showing they are not infected with contagious diseases such as tuberculosis (T.B.)
For daycare facility directors who are charged with caring for 13 or more children, additional state-mandated regulations are required. The leaders must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a high school diploma, or its equivalent
- Meet certain experience and education qualifications such as completing:
- 9 college credit hours in child development
- 9 college credit hours in management
- 3 years of experience at a licensed childcare center
- Submit all qualifications to HHS for verification
Once the state agency has verified and approved a daycare director’s qualifications, the individual will be issued a certificate showing that they met the minimum qualifications.
Houston parents expect their child’s daycare center and caregivers to exceed the bare minimum required to provide a safe environment. Taking care of children is not an easy job. That is why Houston daycares should research and thoroughly evaluate their employees to make sure they’re a good fit from the start. Qualified daycare workers have characteristics and abilities that include:
- Anticipating behaviors that can lead to injuries
- Having a passion for protecting and encouraging kids
- Being caring, honest, and patient
Ultimately, Houston daycare centers need to be thorough and selective when hiring qualified caregivers.
Ongoing Training Requirements for Houston Daycare Workers
Like many jobs, working at a daycare center in Houston requires ongoing training. For workers to be effective and keep children safe, they must maintain their knowledge about current safety practices in the event of an emergency and be sharp about the best supervision tactics and discipline practices to use in certain situations.
Annual training requirements include:
- On-the-job orientation
- Pre-service training hours
- Pediatric first aid and CPR training
- Continued annual training
- Transportation training, if the daycare center has a van or bus used for field trips or picking children up from a school
In choking incidents or instances when a child experiences an allergic reaction at Houston daycare centers, a caregiver’s reaction time is of the essence. That is why these annual requirements are so important.
The Dangers of Unqualified Workers in Houston Daycare Centers
Our Houston daycare injury attorneys have seen firsthand how children can be injured when local childcare facilities do not take the time to properly hire and manage caregivers. We have helped Houston families get justice and hold daycare centers accountable when irresponsible and unqualified workers play a role in preventable injuries such as:
- Causing severe allergic reactions when children are exposed to a known allergen
- Drugging children with Benadryl to make it easier to take care of them
- Exposing children to drugs and alcohol by bringing these inappropriate substances into the facility
- Improperly supervising young children leading to fall injuries and finger injuries
- Leaving children outside too long on a hot day or leaving them behind in a locked daycare van, causing heatstroke incidents
- Using inappropriate discipline methods that cause physical injuries like dislocated elbows, broken bones, and bruises
- Not taking precautions with bottle warmers or hot surfaces, leading to severe burns
- Not following safe sleep practices for infants and toddlers, resulting in sleep injuries
Verbal abuse can also occur when unqualified workers lose patience easily and get frustrated over a bustling classroom full of curious young children. While verbal abuse incidents at Houston daycare centers do not leave physical scars, they can negatively impact a child’s psychological wellbeing.
We have also helped Houston families get justice and recover from experiences when childcare facilities did not follow the state’s requirements and hired unqualified daycare workers with indecent intentions. When people who have not passed a background check are placed in classrooms with children without additional supervision from a daycare director, Houston children are at risk of sexual abuse.
What To Do If Your Child Was Hurt Because of an Unqualified Daycare Worker in Houston
If you believe your child has been injured due to a lack of supervision over the actions of an unqualified worker at a Houston daycare center, you have a right to file a lawsuit to hold the daycare accountable. Speak with our team of experienced Houston child injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm. They will aggressively investigate and pursue your child’s injury claim, help you obtain compensation, and prevent the negligent daycare from harming other children in the future.
There is a two-year time limit for filing a daycare injury lawsuit in Houston, so call us at 281-857-6116 or fill out a contact form as soon as possible. We will listen and advise on the best path forward for you and your family.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Houston Daycare Injury Lawyers
Our team of experienced and compassionate Houston daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to advocating for you and your family if your child was seriously hurt while under the care of unqualified workers a Houston childcare facility. With attorneys in Houston, we are ready to listen and fight for families in Atascocita, Bellaire, Clear Lake, Conroe, Cypress, Deer Park, Friendswood, Humble, Jersey Village, Katy, Lake Jackson, League City, Missouri City, Pasadena, Pearland, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, and Tomball. 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 281-857-6116 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.