The COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in economic challenges and substantial job loss, is raising concern for a greater spike in child abuse. Nothing is worse than receiving a call that your child has been injured or abused. It is worse when this call comes from their trusted child’s daycare facility.
If your child reveals something that makes you suspect they’ve been abused either physically or sexually, don’t overreact. Tell them you’re glad they told you about it. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) recommends consulting an expert such as a doctor, social worker, or law enforcement officer.
Don’t take your child back to the day care facility until you’re convinced it’s safe. If you believe your child has been harmed, seek medical attention. Take your children seriously if they tell you about something at daycare that makes them uncomfortable. With kids who are not talking yet, you’ll have to watch for other cues.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says parents should be alert to these WARNING SIGNS:
- Changes in behavior or extreme mood swings.
- Changes in bed-wetting, nightmares, fear of going to bed, or other sleep disturbances.
- Acting out inappropriate sexual activity or showing an unusual interest in sexual matters.
- Sudden acting out of feelings, or aggressive or rebellious behavior.
- Regression to infantile behavior or clinging.
- School problems, behavior problems.
- Changes in toilet-training habits.
- Fear of certain places, people, or activities; an excessive fear of going to the daycare center.
The NCMEC maintains a 24-hour, toll-free hotline that can help parents whose children have been exploited. Call 800-THE LOST (843-5678) or check the Web site at www.missingkids.com.
Choosing a Responsible Provider
Many day care centers conduct background checks on potential employees to see if they have criminal records. Ask the center director how it screens prospective daycare providers, including other people the children will come in contact with such as janitors or bus drivers.
In family day care, it’s less likely that you’ll have this information. The majority of these homes are not licensed so you have to rely more on the provider’s references, including the recommendations you receive from friends or neighbors. Ask who besides the family day care provider will come into contact with your child. Some abuse cases have involved relatives of the providers.
During your interview with a prospective daycare provider, ask detailed questions about their philosophy of discipline. On your visit, observe how they handle behavior problems, including any punishment that may be used. Never put your child in a day care facility or home that does not have an open-door policy for parents.
You should not have to call first, and no areas that children have access should be off limits to you.
Be sure at home to create an atmosphere in which your child feels that they can talk to you about anything without fear of being ridiculed or blamed. Start when they are very young and maintain the dialogue as they grow, so they know you can be trusted, supportive and open.
Child abuse and neglect at the hands of trusted caregivers can be devastating to the whole family. The severity of these calls differ, but the underlying reason for many of these calls are relatively common, including unfit employees who hurt or abuse, inexperienced, unskilled or understaffed facilities or simply staff that simply fails to safeguard or supervise.
- Families with caregivers who have a limited understanding of children’s needs or development
- Families with caregivers who were abused or neglected as children
- Families with young caregivers or single parents
- Families with low income
- Families with adults with low levels of education
- Families experiencing high levels of parenting stress or economic stress
- Families with caregivers who use spanking and other forms of corporal punishment for discipline
If your child has been in this situation of danger or abuse, contact the attorneys at Carabin Shaw today. Our child advocate attorneys have years of experience representing families in all types of these claims. We will advocate tirelessly on your behalf to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at 800-862-1260 today.