By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
In Massachusetts and other States, parents rely on day care centers to provide a safe and clean educational environment for children. Most child care providers take their responsibilities to heart and do their best to provide for the needs and best interests of the children. Unfortunately and tragically in some instances, there are other “child care providers” that do not even deserve this simple designation since they use a position of trust and responsibility to prey on children in the very environment in which the children should be protected and nurtured rather than injured, abused, and molested. While it impossible and impractical to prevent or foresee every bad incident that happens in a day care center or other location, parents should take some effort to investigate or evaluate a day care center before enrolling their children in the day care center. Here are some questions and facts to get from the day care operator:
*How long have you been in business?
*Can you provide me with a copy of your business license? day care license?
*What were the results of the last survey? Can you please provide me with a copy of the survey?
*Who will have contact with my child in the day care center? Have criminal background checks been completed on these child care providers? Can you provide me with proof of these background checks?
*Are there any family members of employees or the owner who will have contact or access to the children? Have criminal background checks been completed?
*Please provide the names of families / references who are currently enrolled in the program? Previously enrolled in the program?
Has the day care center ever been cited by the State for any reason?
Have any of the day care center workers been convicted of a crime? arrested in the past?
Do you have written policies and procedures for the operation of the day care center?
Is there any video surveillance in the facility?
These and other questions can be posed in an effort to determine safety and organizational aspects of the facility. Many parents select a day care center due to convenience and costs. While these are two important factors as well, they should not be the only factors especially considering the risks to children being cared for by child care providers who do not have the best interests of the children as part of their work ethic.
In Massachusetts, it was recently reported that the husband of a day care owner was accused of assaulting 13 infants and young children in the care of the day care center. The police conducted a search of the day care center and found child pornography including hundreds of hours of video footage of the attacks. John Burbine has been arrested and charged with 100 counts of abuse. The wife, Marian Burbine, was also arrested on other charges. She claims that she knew that her husband was classified previously as a Level I sex offender but still allowed her husband to care for the children enrolled in the day care center. See Wakefield Massachusetts Man Faces Criminal Charges for Abusing Children at Wife’s Day Care Center.
Certainly, parents of the children abused at this day care center were shocked and dismayed by the incidents and harm caused to their children. It appears that the allegations are well founded by the video footage and other evidence. While the Burbines will be entitled to the representation of a Criminal Defense Attorney are, under the law, are presumed innocent until proven guilty, it does appear that there is a mountain of evidence to support the allegations.
Beyond the criminal allegations, the parents of the abused children have a right to pursue a civil action against the Burbines and the day care center for the damages and injuries caused to the children. The pursuit of a civil case for compensation will likely be a challenging one if there is no liability insurance. Furthermore, even if there is liability insurance, there typically are exceptions in insurance policies for criminal and intentional acts like the abuse, assault, or molestation of a child. There are ways to avoid or get around these exceptions. It should be further noted that a civil case can also be difficult from a practical standpoint if the Defendants have no assets to pursue. Certainly, justice demands that wrongdoers compensate their victims for the hard caused to them; however, the practicalities are that the collection of a large monetary award is an uphill battle if there is no liability insurance coverage and a lack of assets to collect upon.
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, Medical Care and Treatment, Damages / Compensation, and other topics. You can receive this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
David Wolf is the the author of the book – The ABCs of Child Injury. He has over 22 years of experience as an attorney and advocate for the rights of child. He is the author of four books focusing on child rights and injury issues. As an attorney, advocate, and parent, Mr. Wolf firmly believes in Giving a Voice to Injured Children and Their Families.