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What are the Rules and Regulations Against Child Abuse and Corporal Punishment that Apply to New York Day Care Centers?

By  Steven R. Smith, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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New York Child Care Regulations

In New York and other States, children should be provided with a safe and clean learning environment in day care centers.  Unfortunately for some children, the day care center experience is a rough one especially when  staff members abuse the authority by abusing the very children under their care.  New York Day Care Centers are governed in part by the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR).  Many of the day care center regulations are contained in NYCRR Part 418.

NYCRR Part 418-1.10 – Child Abuse and Maltreatment provides as follows:
418-1.10 Child Abuse and Maltreatment (a) Any abuse or maltreatment of a child is prohibited. A day care center must prohibit and may not tolerate or in any manner condone an act of abuse or maltreatment by an staff, volunteer or any other person. An abused child or maltreated child means a child defined as an abused child or maltreated child pursuant to Section 412 of the Social Services Law.
NYCRR Part 418-1.9 – Behavior Management provides as follows:
(j) Corporal punishment is prohibited. For the purposes of this Subpart, the term corporal punishment means punishment inflicted directly on the body including, but not limited to, physical restraint, spanking, biting, shaking, slapping, twisting or squeezing; demanding excessive physical exercise, prolonged lack of movement or motion, or strenuous or bizarre postures; and compelling a child to eat or have in the child’s mouth soap, foods, hot spices or irritants or the like.
It is clear by these regulations that a day care center work / child care center provider has not right whatsoever to strike a child as a form of corporal punishment.   Many such acts go undetected and unreported because the child is too young or afraid to report such conduct.  Furthermore, if no marks, bruises, or injuries result from the corporal punishment or abuse, these acts can also go undetected and unreported.
Some incidents come to light thanks to the honesty of some staff members, the bravery of children, or other circumstances.  In Hoboken, New Jersey, an incident of abuse / corporal punishment came to light thanks to a video taken of the scene by person who lived next to a day care center.  The video was shot from an apartment complex next to the Apple Montessori School.  As a result of the video, the staff member was dismissed.  The father of the child victim was quite upset over the situation and stated that the video of the incident was worse than what he expected.  You can read more about this story and see the video of the incident at Day Care Center Playground Incident – Child Roughed Up – Captured on Video. 
When a day care center violates a rule or regulations, does this mean that a parent can pursue a civil claim or case against the day care center?  The answer to this question depends on the particular facts and circumstances.  It should be noted that the rules and regulations are administrative in nature.  In other words, a violation of a rule / regulation can form at the basis of a civil case but does not necessarily guarantee that a civil case can be pursued OR that a civil case will be successful.   Again, the particular facts and circumstances should be closely evaluated.  Because of the technical and complicated nature of a civil case involving an injury or assault of a child, a parent should consult with a Child Injury Lawyer for guidance, support, and representation.
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.
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