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What Action Can Be Taken Against a Day Care Center When a Child Wanders Away from the Facility? Risks and Dangers

By David Wolf, Attorney and Samantha Vloedman, Law Clerk

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Building Blocks Glossy -R - Day Care CenterIn Michigan and other States, parents rely upon day care centers to provide for a safe educational environment. One basic responsibility of the day care center is to supervise the children in a manner so that the children do not wander away from the facility.

In Michigan, a day care owner and worker are facing criminal charges of misdemeanor fourth degree child abuse. The two were charged after a child, that was supposed to be under their supervision, was found in the middle of a busy highway about 200 yards from the day care center. Luckily, a truck driver noticed the child, stopped his truck, and rescued the child from the dangers and risks of the busy highway.

Day care centers are entrusted to supervise and protect the children in their care. When day care centers fail to supervise and protect children, the children can be injured or even killed. Many states have licensing procedures in an effort to make sure that day care centers meet certain minimum standards of care for children. When day care centers fail to follow these standards, the day care center license can be revoked or suspended and the day care center may be shut down.

Losing a license is not the only concern for a day care center. As the two Michigan day care center employees learned, an owner / employee can be charged criminally for failing to properly supervise the children in their care. There are differing degrees of criminal child abuse, neglect, and even manslaughter that day care center owners / employees can face. The degree of the charge determines the amount of jail time the owner / employee may end up serving if the case results in a plea bargain OR criminal conviction through a trial.

In addition, children have legal rights that need to be protected. The parents of children that are injured, abused, or neglected, can file civil lawsuits against the day care centers for failing to supervise and protect the children in the day care center’s care. A civil lawsuit can often help a child to receive monetary damages to cover hospital and medical expenses caused by the negligence of the day care center and its employees.

A good resource for a parent dealing with the aftermath of an injury caused by the negligence of a day care center or other entity is the book – The ABC’s of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know. This book has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, Water Park and Aquatic Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.