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Child Care Negligence And Abuse

Victor Lewin - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It can be really difficult to obtain a placement in a licensed daycare center or family home daycare agency, both of which are subject to the Day Care Act and Day Care Regulations in Nova Scotia. The Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF) estimates that regulated child care centers can accommodate only 20 per cent of Canadian children between the ages of zero and five years. For those who cannot find space, the alternatives are unlicensed daycare centers, nanny services or informal arrangements in the community.

Due to a shortage of licensed care, all of Canada's provinces and territories allow some unlicensed childcare facilities to operate. Unlike licensed child care services, however, unlicensed facilities are not subject to an annual review by the Ministry of Education, which brings up concerns about the potential for negligent supervision arising from such an exemption. Unlicensed child care centers are morally and ethically obligated to deliver considerate care, but not all do.

Several incidents have surfaced where unlicensed centres have failed to provide adequate care. In one incident, a two-year old girl in Ontario was found dead in her sleep at an illegal daycare. The facility was illegally supervising 27 children when the limit is five children under the age of ten who are not related to the operator of the facility. In 60 percent of cases, a troubling number of violations were found in an inspection report of nearly 300 unlicensed daycare businesses in Ontario, including lax supervision, unfenced pools, soggy bedding and broken, unsanitary highchairs. In about 40 percent of daycares, caregivers exceeded the number of children allowed to be in their care. Unlike licensed facilities, unlicensed daycares are only visited by ministry officials in response to complaints.

Even in licensed facilities, a high number of violations occur. In Nova Scotia, about 30 percent of all regulated daycares had 10 or more violations, since July 2012, according to information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The most frequent violations included: not completing child abuse registry check for workers, invalid first aid training, and not following guidelines for preventing and controlling communicable diseases.

What is Child Neglect and Abuse?

Child neglect is the failure to provide and maintain adequate food, clothing, medical care, supervision, and/or education. By contrast, child abuse is a non-accidental injury to a child, including any maltreatment.

Warning signs of child neglect or abuse can include:

  • Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, welts, cuts or burns;
  • Consistent uncleanliness, being unkempt or failing to thrive (including weight loss or not reaching developmental milestones);
  • Inappropriate clothing or inadequate clothing for the weather;
  • Behavioural changes, including being watchful, extremely compliant, passive or withdrawn; and
  • Insufficient medical attention.

Filing a Negligence Claim With Wagners, Accident Lawyers in New Minas

If your child has suffered a serious injury or death at a daycare, you may want to hire an accident lawyer in Halifax to file a negligent supervision claim. At Wagners, we have accident injury lawyers in Kentville and New Minas who can help you as well. Our lawyers will follow a process where we carefully review the facts involved, identify and explain your options and next steps that we recommend you take. We specialize in the area of practice that is specific to your situation to help you obtain the compensation your family deserves. Book your free consultation at Wagners at 1-800-465-8794.

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