Is Your Daycare Center Up to Snuff?
Every parent’s greatest fear is that of their children being harmed or abused, especially in their younger years when they’re completely innocent and defenseless. Mothers and fathers who work face a difficult challenge with young children: Finding the right daycare provider. Many daycare centers are clean, safe, educational, and provide loving care to the children left with them. Some others, unfortunately, are far less safe for children. We often find centers that have untrained employees, too few employees, unsafe or unsanitary facilities, and many other problems that could lead to child abuse and neglect.
The Husband and Wife Law Team of Mark and Alexis Breyer have raised eight children, and have seen this challenging situation occur time and time again – and they’ve learned the signs of daycare abuse and how to deal with situations as they occur.
The Signs of a Bad Daycare Center
While it’s hard to know what happens after parents leave, many visible signs and indicators point to a daycare center being sub-par:
- Unclean, unsanitary, or unsafe premises and spaces;
- Lack of staff;
- Complaints from other parents;
- Lack of accreditation;
- Refusal to allow parents to be involved; and
- High staff turnover.
If you see any of the above indicators or anything else that makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s worth investigating at once. Children are fragile, and every day that abuse or neglect continues is one day too many.
Possible Indicators of Child Abuse or Neglect
Even if a daycare center looks excellent, the indicators of abuse and neglect are often visible on your children. Some of the common signs that your child may be suffering from abuse or neglect include:
- Unusual bruising or cuts;
- Sudden changes in behavior or mood swings;
- Pain, bleeding, rashes, or other non-optimum physical conditions in their genitalia;
- Sudden onset of nightmares;
- Acute shyness and withdrawn behavior;
- Aggressive or rude behavior;
- Self-abusive comments or behavior;
- A child using adult language or comments;
- Fear or apprehension when being left at the center;
- Sudden speech disorders;
- Constantly being hungry or thirsty when you pick them up; and
- Untreated injuries (cuts, scrapes, etc.).
As a parent, you know what’s normal and ideal for your child. And while a degree of change, improvement, and even hurt is normal when a child spends their days with other children – there’s a limit to what can be expected under proper care, supervision, and loving treatment. If you see anything out of the ordinary – take action.
What to do if You Fear Your Child is Being Neglected or Abused at Daycare
If you’re concerned that your child is being abused or neglected, the time to investigate and take action is now. We recommend starting with asking other parents, making a surprise visit to the daycare center, and otherwise investigating. If you see things wrong, call the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) immediately at 1-888-SOS-CHILD (1-888-767-2445) and get your child out of there. Once your child is safe, call a lawyer who can help investigate and take legal action against the negligent daycare center.
How to Find a Good Daycare
Finding a good daycare center can be a challenge, so we recommend starting the search long before you’re ready to drop your child (or children) off. We recommend checking into several centers, and following these steps:
- Research the center online and see what other parents have to say.
- Visit the center yourself and ask lots of questions. Make sure they’re accredited, and the staff appears happy and loving.
- Make sure there isn’t overcrowding.
- Discuss their childcare philosophy, and make sure it’s in line with your own.
- Check to see that the place is clean and follows all necessary safety regulations (smoke detectors, etc.).
- Perform a surprise visit, and see what the place is like when they aren’t expecting you
While these precautions will help decrease the chances of you choosing a negligent or abusive daycare center, there is no way to guarantee that those responsible for taking care of your child will take that responsibility seriously. Always keep an open dialogue with your child, and encourage them to speak with you if they’re ever upset or scared. If your child has been abused, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Husband and Wife Law Team to find out what your legal options are.
Get Help Now
During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer