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Choosing the right daycare for your child is a serious decision. The caretakers are responsible for teaching your child, caring for their needs, and making them feel loved and secure in your absence. Signs of daycare abuse can be more subtle and do not always make the nightly news. However, the State of Texas reports that nearly 67,000 children in daycare are victims of abuse every year. There are several things to look for that may indicate that your child is being abused or neglected in their child care facility.
What is Daycare Abuse?
Child abuse in daycare abuse falls into one of four categories: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. The abuser may tell your child to keep the interactions a secret, using intimidation and their status as an authority figure to make your child fearful of speaking up.
Physical abuse may range from grabbing a child’s arm roughly to spanking, slapping, or shoving the child. Punishments that include any form of a daycare worker placing hands on your child can be considered forms of abuse. Physical abuse may leave temporary marks or may result in debilitating injuries or scars.
Emotional abuse may seem less severe than other types of abuse, but the effects can be far-reaching for your child. Emotional abuse is typically defined as anything that harms your child developmentally, cognitively or behaviorally. Caregivers that perpetuate emotional abuse often lack empathy and the ability to help a child feel secure.
Sexual abuse ranges from touching a child’s genitals to penetrating them. Some sexual abuse also involves taking photographs or videos of your child naked or being abused. One in four Texas girls and one in six boys are estimated to fall victim to sexual abuse before their 18th birthday.
Neglect is more passive than other abuse, yet still deeply affects your child’s development. Neglectful behavior can be failing to change a child’s diaper, refusing to give them food at mealtimes, or failing to properly supervise and protect your child. Neglect may be found in larger daycare centers, but is most common in facilities that are overcrowded or unlicensed, in-home daycares.
Common Indicators of Daycare Abuse
Your child may not be able to articulate the abuse they suffer or maybe too fearful. If you notice that your child seems withdrawn or excessively angry all of a sudden, this could be a sign of abuse. Other symptoms to consider along with a change in behavior are:
- Aggressive actions toward other children or family pets
- Fear of going to daycare or clinging to the parent at drop-off
- Flinching when touched
- Poor concentration or memory (this is found more often in older children)
- Increased affection-seeking behavior, such as sitting on your lap, clinging, or asking for hugs
- Trauma or redness to the genital area, including bleeding or the child having a hard time sitting down (a sign of sexual abuse)
- Newfound, age-inappropriate in sex or genitalia
- Torn or bloodstained clothing
- Nightmares, bed-wetting, or night terrors
- Development of an STD
What to Do When You Notice Daycare Abuse
Signs of sexual abuse may be readily apparent and if you notice these, seek immediate medical attention for your child and call your local police department or the Department of Children’s Services in your area. In many cases of sexual abuse, intimidation by the abuser is a factor, which makes it frightening for your child to vocalize what happened.
As a parent, you know your child best. A sudden shift in actions and behavior, acting out, and clinging on to you when a child should be reaching more independent developmental milestones are all less obvious but still worrisome.
Your child may need therapy for many years to work through the abuse that happened to them, as well as plenty of love and affection from you and other caring adults in their life. They may have difficulty trusting other adults and may engage in harmful actions toward themselves or others.
Your Rights as a Parent
As parents, we want to do everything in our power to hold individuals or entities that harm our children responsible. If you suspect your child has been abused at daycare you may wonder, “Can I Sue for Daycare Abuse?” The answer is yes.
- You may have grounds for a lawsuit against the daycare worker and the daycare facility for abuse your child suffered.
- These losses can include medical bills, the cost of alternative childcare, the cost of therapy or counseling, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
While it is ultimately up to the police to pursue criminal charges against the daycare worker and facility that abused your child, you can also report the childcare center to the Texas state government.
Contact Thompson Law Offices, personal injury lawyers specializing in daycare abuse to discuss your claim. We work hard fighting for you and your child all the way to the mediation table or a court of law. Visit us online or give us a call at 844-308-8180 today!