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What are the Legal Rights of a Child Molested at a Day Care Center?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


In California and other States, children are enrolled in day care and child care programs. It is vital that the day care center conduct thorough interviews and background checks of the staff members hired at the day care center. There should also be thorough interviews and background checks of volunteers as well. In addition to staff members and volunteers, family members of staff members and owners also come into contact with the children enrolled in the day care center / child care center.

While background checks and thorough interviews can help weed out adults who may pose a risk to the children, there is no substitute for supervision at the facility. If a person has not be subject to a background check and is not otherwise employed at the day care center, then that person should not be left alone with any one child at the day care center. While most employees and volunteers are caring individuals, others use lapses in supervision and the failure to have or enforce policies and procedures as opportunities to harm or abuse a child.

At some day care centers, a family member of an owner or employee takes advantage of the environment and situation to prey on an innocent child. It was recently reported that a 14 year old child of day care center operators in Burbank, California was accused of molesting a 4 year old child enrolled in the day care center. The incident was reported and investigated by local police. Few details were initially reported. It was reported that the teen may be facing criminal charges involving the oral copulation of a minor. See 14 Year Old Accused of Molesting Child at Burbank Day Care Center.

When a child is abused or neglected at a day care center, there are four basic elements that need to be proved on behalf of the child:

1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.

In many instances, the evidence or strength of the evidence may be challenged by day care center or the insurance company. Each case must be evaluated on its own facts and merits. Some cases are supported by physical or forensic evidence in the form of medical examination, lab work, and diagnostic testing while others heavily rely on statements of the child, eyewitnesses, admissions of the perpetrator, and / or other evidence. It should also be pointed out the criminal cases are pursued or managed by the local police, sheriff, social services, and / or the prosecutor’s office. On the other hand, civil cases are pursued privately through the services of a Child Injury Lawyer.

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