Child Care Safety Act aims to reduce risk of daycare injuries

A new law in Alabama could reduce the risk of day care injuries.

Daycares provide for the care and education of young children throughout the country. Each state has laws that govern how these facilities must operate. At the most basic level, these laws help to ensure the children within these facilities are safe.

One way states achieve this goal is through the process of licensure. Generally, a center must have a license to operate as a daycare within the state. Centers with this license must meet certain requirements to continue operations. This can include allowing for investigations of the facility to ensure the center is meeting the minimum standards set by state law.

There are exceptions to the requirement that a childcare center have this license. If granted an exception, a facility could operate without a license. This facility would not be subject to the same requirements as one that does hold a license. This could result in a less safe environment for the children within these centers.

How common are unlicensed daycares in Alabama? Unfortunately, this is a very common practice. Almost 1,000 daycares operating throughout the state do not have licensure. This translates to about half the daycare centers in Alabama.

In some cases, centers have applied for exemption from licensure requirements. This can include religious and church based childcare centers.

Are unlicensed centers dangerous? Unlicensed centers are responsible for a large number of illnesses and injuries. One recent example involves a case with over 80 children that became ill due to a staph infection. An investigation determined that the infection was the result of spoiled food within the center.

Another example involves a center that was determined to be responsible for the death of a five year-old left unattended in a vehicle. Both centers in these examples were unlicensed.

What is being done to protect children within these centers? A new law attempts to help better ensure the safety of the children that attend these facilities. The law, introduced by Alabama Representative Pebblin Warren, is called the Child Care Safety Act.

Two achievements within this law include notice and safety. First, the Child Care Safety Act would require facilities operating without licensure provide notice of the lack of licensure to their potential clients. In addition to this notice, these facilities could also be subject to an annual inspection by fire and health departments. The facility would also need to provide documentation stating that it is in compliance with applicable fire and health inspections, provide criminal history of employees and proof of property and liability insurance.

What about victims of day care injuries? Lawmakers backing this proposal are hopeful that it will increase the safety of these facilities for our children. However, in the event of an accident that results in an injury, the child may be eligible for compensation through a civil suit. This compensation can be used to cover the costs associated with the injury. Costs like medical care. Contact an attorney to discuss your options.