Every parent’s worst nightmare is that their child or children will become injured or suffer harm. Most New York City parents utilize daycare or childcare throughout the workweek. While many daycare facilities provide loving, healthy environments, some have a history of negligent or abusive practices that leave children injured both physically and emotionally. It is wise for New York City parents to take steps to make sure that their children attend a daycare or childcare facility that is safe and secure. Doing so will help parents rest easy knowing that their children are safe, secure, and thriving at their New York City daycare center.
Investigate the Day Care Center Before Enrolling Your Children
The first question to ask is whether or not the daycare center is licensed with the state of New York. Unfortunately, searching for information about a potential daycare center in New York is not always easy. Two different New York agencies regulate daycare programs. The first agency is New York City’s Department of Health. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services also lists the inspection records of licensed daycare facilities in two different databases.
First, you will need to determine the category of the childcare center. New York recognizes the following types of childcare categories:
- Informal childcare – these types of childcare centers are usually set up within a childcare provider’s home. New York allows a childcare professional to take care of up to two children of any age in addition to the childcare provider’s own children if he or she has any. New York agencies do not regulate informal childcare centers.
- Family day care – family day care centers are small daycare facilities that someone operates out of their home. Family daycare providers can care for babies 6 weeks old and older. Caretakers may provide care for three to eight children. Under New York regulations, family daycare providers must have at least two years of experience caring for children under the age of 6. Alternatively, family daycare providers may have a year of experience taking care of kids 6 years or younger plus six hours of training in early childhood development.
- Center-based group childcare – this type of childcare operates in a commercial daycare center. Daycare centers may care for babies age six weeks or older. Staff members must have early childhood education degrees or meet New York’s required minimum childcare training. New York City does regulate center-based group childcare facilities.
When considering the safety of a potential daycare facility, make sure that the facility meets the basic qualifications mentioned above. For example, if you discover that the daycare providers in a facility have no training in early childhood development, the facility is in violation of New York City regulations and not a safe choice. Once you know the program type, you can look up the daycare facility in New York’s state or City database. Make sure the childcare provider has an up-to-date license. Licensed facilities must follow strict guidelines.
Ask to See the Daycare’s Safety Record
New York daycares are not legally required to display their safety records at their facility. However, you can ask the daycare center to provide you with a copy of its safety record. If a daycare center refuses to provide you with their safety record, you may want to look into other options. Or, you can look up their inspection history to get a better idea of their sanitary and safety practices.
Research the Facility’s Inspection History
Licensed childcare providers in New York City and New York state receive inspections by public health officials. Public health inspectors label every infraction according to severity. Daycare centers must fix public health hazards within 24 hours. They must fix critical violations within two weeks or they risk losing their license status. Daycare facilities will receive infractions for the following violations:
- Blocked fire exits
- Storing breast milk at the incorrect temperature
- Failure to document the background checks of employees
- Failure to verify that all of the children in the daycare center have received appropriate vaccinations
Currently, parents can compare the inspection records of New York city daycares to the citywide average. New York City’s search engine allows parents to view the average percentage of inspection violations to get a better understanding of how one daycare compares to other daycares in terms of safety. Parents can also choose to receive a text or email notice when their child’s daycare or childcare center undergoes a public health inspection.
Pay Attention to Any Signs of Physical or Mental Abuse
Parents should always be on the lookout for signs of daycare abuse or neglect. The following symptoms may be related to abuse at a New York City daycare facility:
- Apprehension at drop off or pickup
- A dazed look
- Cuts, sores, bite marks, or burns
- Frequent crying
- Nightmares or night terrors
- Bruises, cuts, scrapes
- Sudden aggressive behavior
- Attempts to run away from the daycare center
- Poor memory or concentration
- Flinching when an adult makes a sudden movement
- Missing hair on the child’s head
- Hand, buckle, or belt imprints on the child’s skin
- Undergarments that are torn or have blood stains
- Pain, soreness, or scratching in a child’s genital area
- Contraction of an STD
No parent wants to imagine that a daycare provider could be abusing or neglecting his or her child. However, it is important to seek help from the police as soon as you suspect that a childcare center or daycare center may be abusing your child.
If Your Child Has Suffered Abuse in a Childcare Center, We can Help
Childcare centers owe children a duty of reasonable care. When centers breach that duty by hiring employees who abuse children or by failing to enforce safety policies, they may be liable. If you are child suffered abuse in a New York daycare or childcare center, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Contact Pulvers Thompson today to schedule your initial consultation.