By David Wolf, Attorney
Child Injury Lawyer Blog
In Alabama and a number other States, day care centers can be broadly separated into three groups: Licensed, Unlicensed by Exemption, and Unlicensed by Violation. While the licensure of a day care center does not guarantee that a day care center is free from risks, hazards, and negligence, the licensure of a day care center does provide for important oversight by the State. With oversight, there is usually voluntary compliance with the applicable day care and child care rules, regulations, staffing, training, and safety standards. Many parents are not qualified to know what the required staff to child ration should be or what training should be completed for child care providers. Furthermore, there is a certain value to having rules and regulations in place to guide a day care center as what needs to be in place to obtain a day care center license and to keep such a license.
It was recently reported that roughly half of the day care centers in Alabama are licensed day care centers and the other have are exempt day care centers. The number of day care centers operating under the radar without a license and without a religious exemption is unknown but there are unfortunately a number of day care centers that skirt the law and operate against the law and often at a risk to the very children enrolled in such day care centers. See Proposed Alabama Would Require Licensure of Religious and Church Based Day Care Centers.
Another problem with exempt day care centers involves the lack of liability insurance. Many day care centers, without a requirement to do and without oversight, fail to obtain liability insurance. When there is a claim or case to pursue for negligence and personal injuries, it can be quite difficult from a practical financial standpoint if the day care center, especially the single facility businesses, lack liability insurance. Many such day care centers lack assets to cover a settlement or judgment on behalf the injured child.