(PRWEB) January 24, 2014
There are thousands of "drop in" day care centers throughout California. Also called ancillary day care centers, these facilities can be found at movie theaters, fitness centers, grocery stores, shopping malls and other retail establishments to provide short-term supervision of children. Parents can leave their children with the staff for a few minutes or a few hours. Of course, parents believe that their children will be entertained and kept safe. Parents may be wrong.
California Senate Bill 766, authored by California Senator Leland Yee would raise the standards for these drop in day care centers and signifies an effort to make them safer. Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer John Nojima of the law firm Lederer & Nojima says it is about time and that the bill should be made into law. The Senate has until the end of January to vote on it.
Nojima says "California's legislature requires considerable oversight for licensed day care centers that provide long-term care. There must be an appropriate number of staff for the number of children, the employees must go through a background check and the workers must be of a certain age, for instance. On the other hand, short-term child care facilities are hardly regulated at all. If SB 766 passes, this will change. There is definitely a need for such change." Nojima refers specifically to a case in Sacramento that occurred three years ago.
On February 15, 2013, KTVU TV offered details about the case of a toddler who suffered an injury while at a gym day care ("Day care centers at gyms may not be licensed by the state"). He has a permanent facial scar as a result and his parents are still pursuing compensation. Nojima says that if the new law was in place and the gym was violating it at the time the child was injured, the gym may have a much more difficult time refusing to compensate the family. He says that "because the parents are on the same premises as their children, the state has, thus far, not been aggressive in regulating these drop in centers. But parents are entrusting the care of their child to gym or mall or movie theater employees. But employees caring for children should be held to an extremely high standard. The state has a responsibility to make sure that these employees have some additional oversight when it comes to child care."
Nojima also says that, even in the best-case scenarios, children are often placed in harmful situations. Even when a day care center or school is licensed and heavily regulated "many of them still violate the law. The staff to child ratio may be inappropriate, playground equipment may not be maintained, safety protocols may not be followed. The list goes on and on. If day care providers violate the law and children are put in harm's way, these facilities should be held accountable. If SB 766 passes, short-term child care services will also have to adhere to a higher standard. If they don't, the lawyers of Lederer & Nojima will hold them accountable."
While the vast majority of day care facilities are safe, Nojima says, he has seen many examples of families who struggle with the aftermath of injuries to their children when a "day care or child care provider fails in their responsibilities. Whether through reckless behavior, negligence or clear malice, day care workers can put children at risk. We have had cases where children were unsupervised because there was not enough staff and one child injured another. We have also had children who have been injured on playground equipment that was not installed and maintained correctly." The attorney concludes by saying "the child care providers must prioritize safety at all times. Parents put their trust in these care providers. They should be worthy of that trust."