daycare injury attorney preschool injury attorneyDaycare and Preschool Injuries

In over half of U.S. families, both parents with children under 6 years old are working. That’s why daycare and preschool are so important for today’s families. They provide a place for the kids to be while parents are at work. But preschool or daycare can also be an opportunity for the growth of your child.

It prepares him or her for the more academic standards of today’s kindergarten classes by promoting language, pre-math, and literacy skills. Preschool and good daycare programs also promote positive social and emotional development.

The State of California recognizes the importance of good daycare and preschool. It licenses certain daycare facilities and it offers public programs such as Head Start, First Fives, State Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, and CalWORKS Child Care.

And there are also many private preschools throughout California and in Orange County.

Child Care in California

Legal child care is either licensed or license exempt in California.

Licensed Child Care

Our state’s child care licensing regulations are meant to promote your child’s health and safety. There are two types of licensed child care in California. One is a child care center. Also called day care centers, these are usually located in a commercial building. Care (non-medical) and supervision is provided in group settings for infant to school age children. Care is provided for less than 24 hours.

The other type of licensed child care is a family child care home. This is where a licensed caregiver uses his or her home to take care of children. Like the child care center, these offer less than 24 hours of non-medical care and supervision.

Some facilities offer child care but they’re not exempt or licensed. These are ones that you should stay away from. If you have a question on whether a facility is licensed, you can get in touch with your local Community Care Licensing office and find out.

Exempt Child Care

In addition to licensed facilities, certain types of child care is exempt from having to obtain a license. These include four main groups:

1. An individual who cares for their own children along with those of one other family. Or individuals who care for the children of a relative. This can include parent coops, where families rotate care on an unpaid basis.

2. Public and private non-profits that offer recreational services.

3. Businesses that offer limited child care to their clients and customers, such as stores or professional offices. Usually the parent or guardian must remain on the premises while the children are being cared for.

4. Programs overseen by state agencies other than Community Care Licensing. Organized camps and heritage schools are examples.

How to Choose Good Child Care

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) offers help in its, “Parent’s Guide To Choosing Child Care.” We recommend you take a look at it as you search for quality care. It contains tips on how to determine whether a facility meets the physical, social, emotional, and developmental needs of children. How to know if the staff is loving and caring and whether they provide a healthy and safe environment.

Your Rights as Parents and the Rights of Your Children in Child Care

In the state of California parents, children, and authorized representatives have rights in licensed child care facilities. These include the rights to:

1. Enter and inspect the child care center without advance notice when children are in care.

2. File a complaint with the licensing office and review licensee’s public file kept by licensing office.

3. Review at the child care center reports of licensing visits and substantiated complaints against licensee made during the last three years.

4. Complain to the licensing office and inspect the child care center without discrimination or retaliation against you or your child.

5. Request in writing that a parent not be allowed to visit your child or take your child from the center if you have a certified copy of a court order.

6. Receive from the licensee the name, address, and telephone number of the local licensing office.

7. Be informed by the licensee upon request of the name and type of association to the child care center for any adult who has been granted a criminal record exemption.

8. Receive from the licensee the Caregiver Background Check Process form.

Preschool in California

As we said above, preschool can have a significant, positive impact on your child’s learning. Good preschools can teach your children both intellectually and emotionally. There are many preschools in Orange County to choose from, but how do you know which one is best for your kids?

The Harvard Graduate School of Education offers these things to watch for when you visit a preschool program:

  • Are the adults talking to children in a nurturing and encouraging way? Are they flexible with children’s wants and needs? Do they build trust with the children?
  • You want teachers who focus on helping kids who are behaving inappropriately, not just punishing them.
  • Do teachers provide new activities and challenges for the kids? Make sure the classroom is fun and joyful. Play is important, not rote instruction and drilling.
  • Children should not be expected to sit for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. They should be active with plenty of outdoor time.
  • Observe the staff and notice if they seem happy. The best teachers love what they do and are compensated accordingly.

Negligence in Daycare or Preschool

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into a successful, healthy, and safe environment for children in either daycare or preschool. You do the best you can in choosing the right one for your children. But what if something goes wrong?

Common Deficiencies in California Daycare

  • Children left without supervision. Children left to their own devices can easily get hurt. Or hurt each other.
  • Required immunizations or exemptions from immunizations for employees and volunteers not documented in personnel records maintained by the day care center.
  • The buildings and grounds are not clean, safe, sanitary, and in good repair at all times. Children can fall on cracks in the floors or off unsafe playground equipment. Sharp objects such as broken toys or worn desks or chairs can cause serious injury.
  • Children subject to corporal or unusual punishment, humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, coercion, threat, mental abuse or other punitive actions.

There are more ways that daycare and preschool facilities can fail to provide a safe, healthy environment for your children. If your child has been injured and you think the facility is at fault, call us.

Parents often forget that medical and physical therapy expenses can last a long time. We’ll talk about your case and whether you can get just compensation for your child’s injury.

Call 949.861.2990 or request a consult here.

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law