What is Considered Child Abuse?
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) estimates more than 68,000 children were abused in 2021. Some of those children were abused by caregivers at daycares, summer camps, and after-school programs by the very people working parents trust to take care of their children. The signs of abuse are not always obvious, or children may not be able to tell you what is happening. However, our daycare abuse attorney adds, knowing what to look out for and ask about can make spotting abuse easier.
The state of Texas defines child abuse as “physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child.”
That includes caregivers hitting, kicking, shoving, punching, and slapping children. In some cases, improper discipline can be abuse. According to the Texas Health and Human Services Minimum Standards, caregivers are not allowed to use any harsh, cruel, or unusual treatments, including corporal punishment or threats of corporal punishment. Caregivers are also prohibited from hitting, pinching, shaking, or biting a child.
Abuse doesn’t have to be physical. An action that causes mental or emotional injury to a child is also considered abuse under Texas law. THHS Minimum Standards prohibit punishment associated with food, naps, or potty training. Caregivers are not allowed to humiliate, ridicule, reject, or yell at a child, or subject them to harsh, abusive, or profane language. Children cannot be locked in a dark room, bathroom, or closet.
Even if a person is not actively abusing a child, they can still face charges for not taking reasonable steps to prevent or stop a child from being abused. Regardless of the type of abuse, children can face long-term consequences of abuse, whether it’s physical, emotional, or psychological.
What Types of Injuries Can Happen Due to Child Abuse?
There are a wide range of injuries that can happen due to child abuse, depending on the type of abuse. In the instance of physical abuse, injuries can be very serious and include:
- Broken bones
- Severe bruising
- Brain damage
- Organ damage
Parents should also look for:
- Cuts or sores on faces and arms
- Missing tufts of hair
- Imprints of belt, buckle, or handprints
Those are just the physical signs of abuse at daycare. Emotional and verbal abuse can harm children as well, primarily through changes in their personality and confidence. Parents should be aware of any of the following changes:
- Unusual anxiety or fearfulness
- Sleep disturbances or nightmares
- Regression to infant-like behavior, like bedwetting or thumb-sucking
- Becoming unusually shy or withdrawn
- Becoming unusually angry or aggressive
Even though the changes in personality are not physical injuries, they are changes to your child that may require therapy or other interventions, which is something our team at The Button Law Firm can help your family recover.
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What Kind of Damages Can a Family Recover After Daycare Abuse?
The treatment of abuse depends on the type of abuse your child experienced at daycare, summer camp, or an after-school program. In the case of physical abuse, children likely had to see a doctor for evaluation. Ongoing treatment may be necessary if it was a more serious injury, like a broken bone or head trauma.
The damages for physical injuries are more readily apparent, but The Button Law Firm can also help families of children who require therapy or visits with a psychologist after emotional or verbal abuse. Treatment for those injuries can take months, or even years, and the costs can add up. Our team at BLF may also be able to help with the cost of getting children to these appointments.
In addition to damages for medical bills, families may also be able to recover damages for:
- Loss of income – This applies to parents or guardians who may lose income if they have to take an extensive amount of time off work in order to care for their child.
- Disfigurement - If your child has permanent scarring or loses a limb as a result of daycare abuse, they likely have a claim to disfigurement restitution.
- Loss of enjoyment of life - This could be caused by an injury that hinders your child's ability to do things that they would've otherwise been able to do is something that is important to include on your claim against the daycare.
- Loss of earning capacity - This damage would apply to the child after a severe injury has altered their future abilities to work and provide for themselves as an adult. An example of this is when a child loses a hand and will likely require special training to enter a specific career that can accommodate their disability.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Quickly Should I Hire an Attorney?
It depends on your state’s statute of limitations. Each state has a time period within which a claim for damages must be made, called the statute of limitations. The exact time period often depends on the situation, who was hurt, and where the injury-causing incident occurred. It’s best to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you file within the statute of limitations.
Why Work With The Button Law Firm?
Child abuse cases, and any cases involving children, can be complex. That’s why it’s important to find an attorney well-versed in the statutes and laws regarding daycares. The Button Law Firm has years of navigating these challenging cases and helping our clients get closure and keep moving forward.
Who Do We Work With?
If your child was abused in a private daycare or after-school care center in Texas, contact the experienced daycare injury legal team at the Button Law Firm. We represent children from all over Texas, including but not limited to West Texas, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). We are dedicated to protecting children from harm, and we will make sure the daycare center and childcare worker responsible for your child’s injury are held accountable – as we have helped guide many parents and families within Midland, Houston, Dallas, and the surrounding areas.
You can read more about who we’ve helped in the past here.