Placing your child into daycare and trusting the people there to care for them can be one of the most difficult decisions a parent will make. It is often common to see a child start daycare by the age of 6 weeks. Finding a daycare you can trust can take weeks or months. It is important to know what to look for to make sure you are selecting a daycare that will not abuse your child in any way. Unfortunately, abuse does occur and it can leave a child in a dire situation. What are your rights as a parent to combat the abuse and how can you stop it from happening again?
How to Identify Abuse
While most people think of physical abuse as the common term for child abuse, there are several other forms of abuse. Before you send a child to daycare it is essential to meet with all of the people that will be caring for your child. Find out what their background is and make sure you feel comfortable leaving your child with them. Each day talk to your child about their experience to make sure they are not being abused. Negligent care often shows up in poor hygiene such as the caregiver not changing a child’s diaper all day, failing to feed them, or ignoring their medical needs. A neglected child can appear expressionless, show fatigue, and hoard food at home. Emotional abuse will cause a child to become withdrawn, fear caregivers or parents, and exhibit passive or aggressive behavior. The child may become detached and apathetic in nature. Physical abuse will show up in the form of noticeable bruises, burns, and cuts. The child will become apprehensive, seek excessive attention and affection, adopt a frozen stare, and become very passive or very aggressive.
Lastly, sexual abuse is another serious thing to watch out for. The signs of sexual abuse include pain, bleeding, itching, and bruising around the genitals. The child may have difficulty walking and sitting, fear being separated from adults, and lack involvement with peers. The child may also avoid certain people, frequently touch his/her genitals, and reenact the abuse with dolls.
What to Do
It is hard enough to come to the realization that your child may have been abused, but you need to understand what steps you can take to protect your child. Each state has childcare licensing procedures a daycare must meet. You must follow the state guidelines for reporting abuse. Do not take your child back to the daycare. You do not need to have proof of neglect when you want to report abuse to the state. Instead, report the abuse to your local CPS caseworkers; they can investigate for you. Reports of abuse will be followed up by the CPS and law enforcement if necessary. Take your child to the doctor to have them examined and get them into support groups and therapy to assist with emotional damage related to the incident. This is essential if your child has suffered from physical and sexual abuse as it is challenging for children to understand what happened. You can meet with an attorney to press charges especially if you do have significant evidence showing abuse. Trust your instincts when it comes to abuse. Speak to your child often to make sure they are not being abused by their daycare providers.
Byline: Alex Gormley writes on personal injury issues, from abuse to accidents at work. He is a freelance law and political blogger.