Deciding upon a day care center for your children while you are working or otherwise engaged is a big decision. Almost all parents who are contemplating leaving their child in the care of an agency and their staff, take the time to investigate and research their options. And while it is nice to think that those who are watching your child are infallible, that isn’t necessarily true. Day care accidents and/or negligence can happen. As parents, it is important to know your rights, the rights of your child and the responsibilities of all parties involved.
First, it is important to know what a day care provider is actually responsible for. Education care and services is governed by the Education and Care Services National Regulations. Some of a day care/education agencies responsibilities include:
- Quality teachers and/or care providers
- Adequate health and hygiene practices and policies
- Safe procedures for handling and distributing food
However, the only areas of care that are regulated by the Education and Care Services are:
- Weekly menus provided by the education/day care facility
- Sleep and rest requirements (dependent upon the age of the children being cared for)
- Tabaco, alcohol and drug free environment
- Staff members who are not under the influence of any type of mind altering substance, including alcohol and drugs.
- An awareness of the child protective laws
In addition, there are many safety and care regulations that must be met. A facility must be able to:
- Provide adequate supervision
- Maintain the premises in a safe manner
- Protect children from harm and/or hazards
- Hire an adequate number of staff to meet the child/teacher ratio
- Sufficient programs for both education and entertainment to engage the children in their care
- First aid procedures that can be performed by all staff member
- Implement good hygiene for themselves and the children
- Assist with all toileting and bathroom needs, including changing nappies
But what do you do if your center falls short on any of these care regulations? Initially, it would be best to bring the issue to the attention of the immediate classroom teacher and/or the owner of the center. Finding a good care center can be difficult, so if the incident seems like a one-off situation, you may want to be careful to preserve your relationship with the providers. Once you have raised the issue, it is important to follow your discussion up with an email indicating the type of incident that occurred that caused you concern and restate the expected action to be taken to remedy the situation.
If your child was injured and there is a bruise or laceration, take a picture of the injury. In addition, if your child needs medical attention be sure to secure copies of all records, prescriptions and recommendations for follow up care.
In addition, start a journal and document the first incident and any evidence you might have gathered. If a second incident occurs, be sure to make a record of it. If the incidents continue it would be important to immediately secure the safety of your child by making alternative day care arrangements. Once you have accomplished this, you will want to speak to a solicitor who specializes in child centered injuries. Finally, contact your local and/or state department of education to report your ongoing safety concerns.
If you find yourself in need of assistance with this, or any other legal issue, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.