Understanding the Types of Childcare Abuse and Neglect—and Taking Action Against Them
Nearly 300,000 children under age 6 in Georgia had both parents in the labor force in 2011, according to the National Association of Child Care Resources & Referral Agencies. An additional 225,000 Georgia kids younger than 6 lived with a single parent who worked. Many of these children spent at least some time in one of the 2,339 registered child care centers or the 2,549 registered family childcare homes located throughout the state. Other parents rely on unlicensed daycare centers and informal childcare providers to watch their children.
Sometimes daycare providers fail to live up to the important responsibility that parents entrust to them. In the most upsetting cases, daycare providers do intentional harm to children, but neglect can also have devastating consequences when fragile young lives are at stake.
If you have placed your trust in a childcare facility and your child has suffered physical or emotional harm due to the negligence of a care provider, you deserve justice for your son or daughter.
We are here to help. We are passionate about standing up for children in childcare abuse and neglect cases. Contact us today or use our online form for a free consultation.
Childcare Center Obligations
Georgia has a number of regulations intended to keep children safe in daycare facilities. Daycare providers must be licensed if they care for three or more children, even if the provider offers care out of a family home. There are also requirements related to employees of childcare facilities. According to the Georgia Department of Human Resources, a criminal background check must be conducted on all directors and employees of daycare centers, group homes and family daycare homes. Any adults who live in family daycare homes and who play a role in childcare must also submit to a criminal background check. Anyone who has a prior felony conviction is prohibited from working in a daycare facility unless special circumstances warrant an exception.
The Rules and Regulations for Child Learning Centers found in the Georgia Code outline a number of different requirements for childcare centers. For example, Chapter 290-2-3 applies to family daycare homes, which are daycare facilities with between three and six children. Chapter 290-2-3 imposes requirements related to parental access; staffing and supervision; records; children’s activities; nutrition and food service; health, safety and discipline; equipment and supplies; and the buildings and grounds of the care center.
All childcare facilities must be operated within the appropriate guidelines found in the relevant code section. A detailed listing of the guidelines for each type of daycare or childcare facility can be found on the website of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
Childcare Abuse and Negligence
Although there are laws mandating that daycares be licensed and qualified, and there are investigatory procedures in place to try to identify childcare facilities that aren’t up to par, children can still get hurt. Children can be the victim of a number of different types of childcare neglect or abuse, including:
- Physical abuse – Physical abuse includes hitting, smacking or physically punishing a child or touching a child in a violent manner. According to the guidelines in 290-2-3.11(3), providers are forbidden from inflicting corporal punishment; isolating children in dark rooms, closets or unsupervised areas; or restricting a child’s access to the bathroom.
- Sexual abuse – In addition to improper sexual contact such as molestation, fondling or rape, sexual abuse can also include exposing a child to pornography or sexually explicit conversation.
- Verbal abuse – Daycare providers are prohibited from humiliating or otherwise verbally abusing a child. Prohibited behaviors include making threats, using profanity or making belittling remarks about a child or his or her family.
- Controlling children with medication – No daycare provider is permitted to medicate a child without parental consent and written medical authorization by a licensed professional.
- Using restraint devices to discipline or control children – This is prohibited for family childcare centers under 290-2-3.11(3) and for other care facilities under similar code provisions.
- Improper supervision or other negligence - If the care providers or staff are unreasonably careless in watching the kids, protecting them or ensuring their safety, then the daycare center can be held responsible for any harm that results — even if there was no intentional abuse or wrongdoing.
Taking Action against Negligence or Abuse in Childcare Centers
If you have put your trust in a daycare provider or childcare facility and your child has been injured because someone at the daycare facility intentionally hurt your child or was negligent in watching your child, you have legal rights. You can file a civil lawsuit against the daycare facility in order to recover compensation for the losses your child and family have endured.
We can help you to determine who should be held legally responsible for your child’s injuries. We can help you gather the evidence you need to prove your case and recover compensation for medical bills as well as for other damages such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. If childcare neglect or abuse led to your child’s death, we can also help you to recover wrongful death damages to get some measure of justice for your family.
To learn more about how we can put our legal experience with childcare neglect cases to work for you, contact us today or use our online form. The consultation is always free, and you never pay attorney’s fees unless we recover compensation for you.