If you suspect your child has been physically or sexually abused at daycare, it’s important to trust your parental instincts and take prompt action to protect your child from any further harm. You should:
- Contact law enforcement immediately to file a report so officers can begin an investigation.
- Take your child to a doctor for a full examination.
- Take photos of your child’s injuries, save any torn or ripped clothing, and write down any usual behavior you’ve witnessed while it’s still fresh in your mind.
- File a report with the daycare facility administrators.
- Find alternative childcare arrangements.
- Contact a personal injury attorney to learn about filing a civil suit seeking financial compensation for your child.
Criminal Charges Are Separate From Civil Claims
If your child is the victim of physical or sexual abuse, the state will file the appropriate criminal charges. In many cases, the perpetrator will be charged with a felony and face the possibility of several years behind bars. Your child’s name will not be released to the public, and special precautions will be taken if your child is required to provide a statement to the court.
Unfortunately, criminal cases involving the physical or sexual abuse of a child can be difficult to win. Often, there is little direct evidence, or the child’s injuries aren’t definitively an indication of abuse. However, you still have a right to file a civil claim on behalf of your child even if the responsible party is found not guilty of the criminal charges.
Civil Cases Have a Lower Burden of Proof
In a criminal case, the defendant must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, the plaintiff must only prove that the defendant is guilty by a preponderance of the evidence. This simply means that it is more likely than not that the allegations are true.
A criminal conviction can be used to support your civil case, but you may still have a strong case even if the criminal charges against the daycare worker who abused your child were unsuccessful.
The Daycare Center May Also Be Liable
The person who directly harmed your child may not be the only party who can be held legally responsible. Daycare centers, whether they are run as an in-home operation or as a standalone facility, are required to take steps to provide a safe and secure environment for the children in their care. This includes actions to prevent physical or sexual abuse.
- A daycare facility has a responsibility to conduct thorough background checks to ensure that workers do not have a history of mistreating children or other vulnerable individuals.
- The facility is required by law to implement a number of security practices that reduce the risk of abuse, such as policies that reduce the time where adults are alone with children.
- All daycare employees are mandatory reporters who are legally required to report suspicions of child abuse to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services within 48 hours. This includes abuse by other employees of the facility or by relatives of those associated with an in-home care provider.
When a daycare fails to uphold its duty of care to the children it serves, it can be named as a defendant in a civil suit.
The Button Law Firm Is Committed to Protecting the Rights of Vulnerable Children
Discovering that your child has been mistreated by the people you trusted to keep them safe is understandably heartbreaking. However, you’re not alone. The Button Law Firm is here to help you access the resources you and your family need to move forward.
If your child has been the victim of physical or sexual abuse by a daycare provider, our experienced and compassionate attorneys can help you file a civil suit against the facility or the worker responsible for the harm your child has suffered. We will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence of negligence, including poor staff training, understaffing, failure to respond to previous complaints, or failure to address past state violations. We are prepared to aggressively represent your interests throughout the process and argue for the maximum possible damages. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss the best way to proceed with your case.