When a parent leaves their child at a daycare facility, they trust the child will be well-taken care of during their absence. Unfortunately, sometimes that trust is misplaced, and the child becomes the victim of abuse or neglect. The child may suffer physical or emotional abuse, or may simply not receive the basic care he or she deserves and the parent expects. This lack of care or downright abuse can be a result of improperly trained daycare workers or negligent hiring practices.
Whatever the reason, daycare abuse and neglect is unacceptable and can have far-reaching repercussions for the child. Daycare facilities are legally bound to provide a certain standard of care for each and every child. The facilities must be reasonably safe and secure and the children must be protected to the extent possible from injury and accidents. When daycare facilities fail to protect children the law provides parents the right to seek justice.
Signs of Daycare Abuse and Neglect
Particularly with younger children, it can be difficult to know if the child is being well taken care of when there are no overt signs of abuse or neglect. Many younger children experience separation anxiety so the fact that a child resists being left at daycare is not, in and of itself, evidence of abuse or neglect. If, however, the child consistently exhibits emotional outbursts when taken to daycare coupled with any of the following, the child may be a victim of abuse or neglect:
- The child suddenly begins acting more withdrawn or quiet than usual;
- The child exhibits increased signs of agitation or depression;
- The child exhibits extreme behaviors or behaviors which were not present prior to being left at daycare;
- The child has unexplained bruises or other physical marks without adequate explanation from a daycare worker;
- The child exhibits regression in potty training or other milestones;
- The child exhibits inappropriate sexual acting out;
- The child exhibits unexplained aggression;
- The child begins wetting the bed when this was not an issue prior to daycare, and
- The child appears dirty and unkempt or is consistently hungry when picked up by the parent.
Daycare neglect and abuse may have similar results; when children are neglected for extended periods of time they can end up seriously injured. Lack of supervision can lead to such things as: the child is injured after falling from a significant height, the child ingests an unsecured poisonous item, the child wanders away into traffic or into a nearby swimming pool, the child is injured by other children or suffers burns when unsupervised in a kitchen area. Neglect can lead to serious and even tragic consequences. Regarding abuse, children are unable to protect themselves from an abusive caregiver, and may have experienced continued abuse before the parent becomes aware of it.
If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect
If you have any reason to suspect your child is the victim of daycare abuse or neglect, you must act swiftly as an advocate for their safety and well-being. Talk with other parents whose children attend the daycare center, comparing observations. If you believe your child is the victim of physical or sexual abuse, take them to a medical professional immediately for an exam. Keep meticulous records of all your child’s behavioral issues as well as anything out of the ordinary you observe at the daycare center. This could be a daycare worker who acts inappropriately toward the children, or a worker the children appear to be afraid of.
You may also notice such things as safety issues at the daycare, or that children—including your own—appear dirty, hungry or generally unkempt. This type of abuse or neglect is simply unacceptable and you need a child injury attorney who can aggressively pursue a thorough investigation of the daycare center.
Contact Our Washington DC Child Injury Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our child injury lawyers have extensive experience representing injured children and families in Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland. If your child has sustained a serious injury in daycare and you suspect that a caregiver abuse or neglect is to blame, we can help. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The child injury attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Maryland, and throughout Virginia.