Day Care can be held responsible for child neglect in Florida

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Two Oklahoma, boys are being treated at a Texas hospital for second- and third-degree burns their mother said they got at day care.

She told a local tv station that she dropped her sons, ages 5 and 7, at the Happiness Is a Learning Center day care on Friday between 8:30 and 9 a.m. She said when she picked them up after 5 p.m., the kids told her they’d been at a splash pad all day without shirts on while they played.

We signed permission slips. I had asked the day care if I needed to bring sunscreen, and they said no,” Oxford said. “There was no thinking that anything like that would happen.”

The two boys were first taken to Craig General Hospital, where Oxford was told there was nothing the hospital could do until her sons had blisters. She then took them to Claremore Hospital for a second opinion, where the boys had their blisters lanced. They were sent home with pain medication.

She then took the boys to Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa for a third opinion — and that’s when professionals there said the boys had to be airlifted to Shriners Hospital in Galveston, Texas.

The state Department of Human Services said it was investigating the day care over the sunburn incident allegations. The owner of daycare center agreed to voluntarily close their doors amid the investigation.

The tv station talked to the Department of Human Services, which is investigating the case. Officials at the day care told the reporter that their lawyers told them not to give a statement. Debra Martin, a spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services, said the day care has a record of violations. She described the previous incidents as “not life-threatening.” Some of the violations shown in a DHS log include expired fire extinguishers present in the facility and children napping in a room unsupervised.

The kids are expected to be in Texas for five more days.

In Florida, the Department of Children and Families Office of Child Care Regulation and Background Screening is legally responsible for the administration of child care licensing and training throughout Florida. The purpose of this program is to ensure that children are well cared for in a safe, healthy, positive and educational environment by trained, qualified child care staff.

This program currently regulates licensed child care facilities, among other facilities in 62 of 67 counties. In addition, the Office of Child Care Regulation and Background Screening administer the registration of family day care homes not required to be licensed.

Finding a child care facility or family day care home for your child is a very important decision. The following questions and resources may help you as you talk to and visit child care centers before deciding on the right fit for your child:

  • Is the facility licensed by the State of Florida? Some Florida child care centers also earn a Gold Seal designation, reflecting quality in the level of care and supervision provided to children.  Visit our online search to identify licensed child care providers and see inspection histories.
  • Are all teachers are up-to-date on training requirements?
  • Does the facility meet all staff-to-child ratios?
  • What kind of curriculum do they offer? Is it developmentally appropriate?
  • Do staff have positive, nurturing  interaction with the children?
  • Do the children appear to be happy and comfortable in their surroundings?
  • Are the children constantly supervised? Is each staff member responsible for the same children each day?
  • How do they keep parents informed about their child’s progress and school updates? How frequently are communications sent to parents?
  • Does the facility have clean, safe surroundings?
  • Do they provide healthy, nutritious snacks and/or meals.

If your child is injured at a daycare, you may have a case for neglect depending on the significance of the injury.  Make sure you document the injuries with pictures and write down everything that is told to you and by whom.  It will be important information to share with your attorney if a claim is filed.

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