How to Investigate California Daycare or Childcare Abuse and Neglect
Thousands of parents in California entrust their children to daycare centers and caregivers while they work. The last thing a parent expects is to receive a call from the daycare center reporting an injury or to pick the child up and notice signs of abuse or neglect. Sadly, not all daycare and childcare centers are safe. If you suspect daycare abuse or neglect in Sacramento, take an investigation into your own hands for answers.
Ask the Daycare Center What Happened
Start by documenting the daycare center’s responses to your questions and concerns. If you pick up your child and discover physical injuries such as bumps, bruises, bite marks, dislocations or broken bones, or evidence of neglect such as an unchanged diaper or a starving child, ask the daycare center for an explanation. Write down whom you speak with and the reason he or she gives for your child’s condition. Ask how the daycare center responded to your child’s injuries, as well. Failing to act with reasonable common sense in an emergency can be further proof of abuse or neglect.
Take Photographs and Videos
Document your child’s injuries using photographic evidence. This can help you build an injury claim against the daycare or childcare center. Take pictures of your child’s injuries the day you pick him or her up from the center. Keep your child’s clothing if it contains evidence such as blood or urine stains. Take videos of your child’s condition with the date stamp on for further evidence.
Go to a Pediatrician
Schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician or go to the hospital for severe injuries. Explain that your child suffered the harm at a daycare center and give the doctor the daycare center’s explanation. Obtain a physician’s official diagnosis and deduction of how your child suffered his or her injuries. A doctor will be able to make an educated guess at how the injury occurred based on its characteristics and severity. If the doctor’s description of what must have happened does not match the daycare center’s explanation, it is a red flag for daycare abuse or neglect.
Ask the Center for Records and Information
Next, contact the daycare center or caregiver for more information. Request a copy of official records, such as the employee log of who was working on the day of the incident and any relevant accident reports. The center must have a certain ratio of staff members to children under California Code Section 101152. Most childcare centers have security cameras on the premises that may have caught your child’s abuse or neglect on tape. Call and demand the daycare center keep the footage from the day of the incident. You may also hire a lawyer to submit a subpoena to preserve evidence on your behalf.
Look Up the Daycare Center’s Incident History
Conduct a search for past incident and accident reports at your child’s daycare or childcare facility. You can search online for news stories or online records, as well as contact your county’s courthouse clerk for a public records search. Investigating the center’s history could uncover past reports of alleged child abuse or neglect. This could add to the evidence already collected against the daycare center.
Call the Police
If you have any reason to believe the childcare center is guilty of child abuse, involve the police to help you with an investigation. Child abuse is a serious crime that can lead to injuries and deaths at daycare centers. Call 911, report your suspicions and cooperate with the police on their investigation of the incident.
Hire a Daycare Center Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Hire a child injury lawyer in Sacramento for assistance investigating your child’s injuries. An attorney will have professional resources, such as connections to investigators, to help you get to the bottom of what happened. Your lawyer can also help you preserve and collect evidence against the childcare facility for a personal injury claim. Filing a claim can bring your child justice, compensate you for related losses and shed light on dangerous practices at a daycare center in your community. Contact Eric Ratinoff Law Corp for more information.