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Houston Texas Day Care Fire – Operator Charged with Reckless Injury to a Child – Legal Rights and Responsibilities

By Robert Chaiken, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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The operator of a Houston, Texas residential day care who was recently charted with reckless injury to a child has fled to Nigeria. Texas authorities have asked the U.S. Marshal’s Office to intervene in an attempt to have Jessica Tata extradited back to Houston. Tata was charged after a kitchen fire broke out in her day care. Tata was not at the home when the fire occurred, leaving seven children unattended while she allegedly went grocery shopping. 22-year-old Jessica Tata, was the only adult supervising the 7 children the day of the incident. According to Texas’ child care rules, Tata should not have been caring for more than 6 children older than 18-months. She was charged in connection with the death of 3-year-old Shomari Dickerson. If convicted Tata could face up to 20 years in prison, it is still unclear if she could face additional charges. For more details on the fire please read Kitchen Fire in Houston Texas Day Care Center Leads to Deaths of Three Children.

As the operator of a child care facility, Tata had the duty to supervise and care for the children in her custody. Leaving children unattended violates a caretaker’s affirmative duty and responsibility to provide constant, attentive care and safety for her children.