No Spanking Allowed: Holding Abusive Day Caregivers Accountable for Their Actions

Leaving a young child at a daycare facility can bring all sorts of emotions, including apprehension and anxiousness. It is true that most day care facilities provide safe and caring environments for children; however, sometimes this is not the case.

If day care physical abuse occurs, it is not always easily recognizable. Some signs of day care physical abuse include, but is not limited to: torn clothing, skin discoloration, unexplained and unusual broken bones, a pattern of similar injuries that occur over a prolonged period of time, and unexplained bruises, cuts, bites, burns or welts.

The following practices are strictly prohibited:

(a) spanking or other corporal punishment of children;

(b) subjecting children to cruel or severe punishment such as humiliation, verbal or physical abuse, neglect, or abusive treatment including any type of  physical hitting inflicted in any manner upon the body, shaking, threats, or derogatory remarks;

(c) depriving children of outdoor time, meals or snacks; force feeding children or otherwise making them eat against their will, or in any way using food as a consequence;

(d) disciplining a child for soiling, wetting, or not using the toilet; forcing a child to remain in soiled clothing or to remain on the toilet, or using any other unusual or excessive practices for toileting;

(e) confining a child to a swing, high chair, crib, playpen or any other piece of equipment for an extended period of time in lieu of supervision; and

(f) excessive time‑out. Time‑out may not exceed one minute for each year of the child’s age and must take place within an educator’s view.

Legal Liability for Day Care Physical Abuse

While there are no federally mandated child-care standards, Massachusetts law provides requirements for hiring day care center staff. Violation of these standards may be considered negligence as a matter of law, depending on the laws of the particular state.

There are many legal theories available to the family of a victim of child day care physical abuse by a volunteer, employee, visitor, or another child at the facility. A negligence claim may be brought against the day care facility if the owner/operator knows, or should have known, of the perpetrator’s history of prior violence or issues maintaining boundaries with a child. Additionally, a negligent hiring claim may be brought if the daycare facility knew, or had reason to know, that the worker or volunteer who caused the physical abuse was unfit for his or her duties at the time of hire. Negligent retention or supervision claims are available if the day care knew or should have known the abuser was unfit for his or her duties but continued to employ this person, putting the children in harm’s way. Negligent supervision applies to volunteers at a daycare who commit child physical abuse or in scenarios where a child in the daycare has a history of acting out violently with other children and the day care fails to take precautionary measures to avoid child day care physical abuse.

A day care facility may also be held liable on the basis of other negligence legal theories, depending on the particular facts of the case. For example, if the day care physical abuse was committed when the day care facility was not following proper adult-child ratio requirements or if the physical abuse was committed by an unlicensed visitor when the children were supposed to be directly supervised by a licensed and trained adult, the facility will likely be held liable for damages. If the daycare facility has a general knowledge that incidents of physical abuse are occurring at the facility or is mixing children of different ages, negligent conduct may also be established.

If your child was injured as a result of day care physical abuse, contact our offices to learn more about how we can help. With a proven track record and over 35 years of experience helping families obtain justice when their loved ones are victims of harm, we can help you figure out your next available steps under the law. Contact us today.

Was Your Child Physically Abused at a Day Care Center?

Experienced Boston Area Child Daycare Abuse Victim Personal Injury Attorneys – Initial Consultations Are Always Free – No Fee Unless We Recover For You

If your child – or a family member’s child – has been injured as a result of day care physical abuse you should contact attorney immediately. You have the right to hold the day care worker, volunteer, or facility who injured your child accountable for their actions. The knowledgeable legal professionals at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan can evaluate your case and determine the best course of legal action. Serving families and loved ones of child victims for more than 35 years, our attorneys have experience representing victims in all types of personal injury cases, including those involving day care physical abuses.

No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away. Call our law offices today to schedule a free no-obligation case review and consultation at (508) 588-0422 or click the link below to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.

Our personal injury trial lawyers assist clients throughout all of Southeast Massachusetts, including but not limited to Brockton, Holbrock, Abington, Hingham, Fall River, Taunton, Bridgewater, Easton, Norton, Randolph, DorchesterQuincy, Stoughton, Plymouth, Raynham, Mansfield, Avon, Canton, Marshfield, Attleboro, Braintree, Rockland, Hanover, Duxbury, Whitman, Hanson, Halifax, Middleborough, New Bedford, and all smaller cities and rural areas in Southern Massachusetts. We also serve the counties of Plymouth, Norfolk, Bristol, Massachusetts.