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What are the Dangers of Day Care Centers “Operating in the Shadows” to Children? Unlicensed Day Care Centers

By  David Wolf, Attorney

Building Blocks Glossy - P - Day Care CenterIt is not difficult to find stories – horror stories better yet – about unlicensed day care centers in Louisiana, Florida, and other states.   When you see a news article posted about an unlicensed day care center, you will often read about a child being injured or put at risk or danger of personal injury while under the care of the unlicensed day care center.   These child care providers are “operating in the shadows”.  Without any oversight, rules, or regulations, many unlicensed facilities do just what is necessary to convince the parents desperate for child care to part with their hard earned money.   While there are some unlicensed facilities and day care centers that happen to do just a fine job, there are so many others that are truly cutting corners and putting the dollar over safety concerns and measures for the children.
 
In many states, a day care center that cares for a certain number of children can be exempt from licensure and regulation.  For instance, in Louisiana, a day care center is not required to obtain a license if it provides are for 6 children or less.  It was recently reported that an unlicensed day care center in Louisiana was caring for 8 children.  A 22 month old child was placed under the care of this day care center.  On the child’s first day at the day care center, the child returned home with 11 bites.  That’s right – 11 bites.   Subsequent to the incident, the day care center operator was arrested for child desertion.  The day care center operator will be entitled to the services of a public defender or a private criminal defense attorney regarding these charges.   It is quite disturbing for a parent to drop off an infant or toddler at a day care center on the first day and have the children returned with so many injuries.  While the injuries could have been more worse in the form of fractures, head injuries, or even the death of the child, it is still quite disturbing to have a child harmed while under the so-called watchful eye of the day care center. 
Of course, personal injuries can take place at licensed and unlicensed facilities alike.   Just because a day care center has a license and complied with the local and state standards does not mean that the child will never suffer an injury.   Proper supervision is key in any day care center.  It is important for child care providers to be trained and to have the proper maturity, common sense, and temperament to care for children.   Some child care providers supervise children by utilizing corporal punishment.  One excuse may be that the child care provider was raised with spankings and corporal punishment so it is ok to use similar methods at the day care center.   One word can describe this mindset and manner for caring for children – WRONG.  In most states, corporal punishment of a child is prohibited and can form the basis for an arrest and criminal prosecution depending on the severity of the situation.  
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.