The Stakes Couldn’t be Higher
Texas recoiled in horror in late September 2018 when Rebecca Anderson, owner of Becky’s Home Child Care in Mesquite, TX, was arrested for child endangerment after police discovered three children at the center tied to car seats and placed in a closet with the door closed and the lights off. Ms. Anderson’s own statements indicated that the children had probably been drugged with sedatives during their ordeal.
It’s every parent’s nightmare. And while very few of the state’s day care centers have ever descended into the criminal behavior described above, day care abuse is likely to happen again somewhere at some point. It is critical that you do everything you can to make sure it isn’t your child who falls victim to any form of daycare abuse. Following is a game plan:
Do your homework
The first stage of your daycare investigation should be completed before you even contact a particular center. Texas Child Care Licensing (CCL) regulates all child care operations in Texas in accordance with strict state licensing standards. Perform Internet research on their website and any other sources you can find (forums, etc.) to make sure that every day care center on your shrinking shortlist:
• Is currently licensed;
• enjoys a good disciplinary record with the CCL;
• requires all of its caregivers to be licensed (all caregivers, not necessarily all staff – a cook is not necessarily a caregiver, for example)
• performs background checks on every member of its staff, including non-caregivers;
• enjoys a good online reputation; and
• is spoken well of by parents who have used the facility, if you can locate these parents using information you pick up from the Internet.
Talk to the Manager
The next stage of your investigation can be done over the phone or by email. Make sure, however, that you are speaking with a responsible representative of the day care center, not the gardener or even a teacher. You will need to inquire about:
• The staff/child ratio. It should be low, ideally about 3 to 1, and all three should be caregivers rather than support staff.
• Whether the center offers an organized program of activities and/or education.
• What kind of food and drinks are provided.
• Whether rest time is provided and how it is supervised.
• Whether the center has a nurse available and whether there is a first aid kit.
• Whether the school has suffered any recent safety incidents.
• Whether the center is monitored by CCTV. Are all areas covered?
• How discipline is enforced.
• Whether there is an open-door policy for parents. It’s a big red flag if parents are restricted to limited visiting hours.
• Any other questions you see fit to ask.
Visit the Center Yourself
Take a look around and note:
• The general atmosphere of the facility. Is it a fun place?
• What is the staff/child ratio?
• Do staff seem to be enjoying their jobs, or are they just going through the motions?
• Are there any safety issues? All doors should be glass, for example, to prevent any child from wandering outside the view of the staff.
Take you child there and find out how he/she reacts to the environment. If you get the chance, talk to some other parents you see there.
Don’t ignore warning signs
Since this is a situation where the consequences of naivete can be far more serious than the consequences of paranoia, resolve to err on the side of caution. Remember, you’re not accusing anyone of anything, you’re just deciding in the privacy of your own mind what you think of the place. Reasonable suspicion should be enough to make you think twice. Some potential warning signs include:
• One of more of the employees gives you “the creeps.”
• The caregivers seem surly or mean
• There are people at the facility, or hanging around nearby, who have no apparent reason to be there.
• The facility has “bad vibes.”
Your investigation shouldn’t end when you enroll your child — keep your eyes open
Take note of some of the red flags that might indicate your child is suffering from abuse:
• Unexplained phobias
• Fear or antipathy towards going to the daycare center
• Mood swings
• Unexplained changes in behavior
• Aggressive behavior
• Infantile behavior (unless your child is an infant)
• Bed-wetting (if there was no problem before enrollment)
• Toilet-training regression
• Anything that your gut instinct tells you isn’t right.
Contact a Dallas Daycare Abuse Lawyer Today
You are never more vulnerable that when you entrust the care of your child to a stranger. If your child has suffered daycare abuse or neglect, or if you even suspect that something inappropriate is going on, you owe it to yourself and your child to act immediately. Call Rasansky Law Firm at 214-651-6100 for a free initial consultation, so that we can listen to your story and answer your questions. And yes, you can afford us — our fees are zero unless you win.
Speak With a Dallas Daycare Abuse Lawyer For Free
The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at 1-877-405-4313.