2019: A Deadly Year for Unlicensed Daycare Providers
An untold number of parents rely on daycare for their children. In the vast majority of cases daycare centers provide a safe, nurturing environment for the children under their care. However, unlicensed daycare providers continue to pose a danger to children. According to our in-house database at The Doan Law Firm, there were 8 child deaths at unlicensed daycare businesses in 2019.
October 2019: A 19-month-old boy died after he choked on a sandwich at a Mesa, Arizona unlicensed home-based daycare provider. A police investigation revealed that the daycare had lost its state operating license “years ago” and that the daycare’s owner had lied to parents about bring CPR certified.
September 2019: A 3-month-old boy was found unresponsive in his crib at an Akeny, Iowa home-based daycare center and died a short time later at a local hospital. The daycare’s operator, Jennifer Brungardt, had been warned 3 months earlier that it was illegal to operate a daycare business that cares for more than 5 children at a time.
August 2019: In Bucks County, Pennsylvania the operator of an unlicensed home daycare business was charged with child endangerment, involuntary manslaughter, and operating after an 11-month-old died of strangulation after being left unattended in a child’s car seat.
May 2019: A 5-month-old girl died after choking on food at an unlicensed daycare business in Seymour, Wisconsin. An investigation conducted by the Seymour Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families "… found sufficient evidence to substantiate neglect of the infant by the unlicensed child care provider..."
March 2019: A 2-year-old boy was apparently beaten to death by the husband of a home-based unlicensed daycare center run by his wife in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In a 911 call the husband, Hunter Jones, claimed the child had jumped out of his playpen and hit his head in the fall. However, when EMS arrived they found the boy’s body was cool to the touch and covered with bruises.
February 2019: 7-month-old Abigail Lobisch was found dead at an unlicensed home-based daycare at Fort Schafter, Hawaii. An autopsy revealed that the child died as a result on an overdose of Benadryl which, according to investigators, had been administered by the daycare’s owner.
February 2019: A 17-month-old boy died on February 17th at an unlicensed home-based daycare in Johnston, Iowa. Trina Mazza was later arrested on charges of child endangerment and operating an unlicensed daycare business.
As shocking as this death toll may be, it does not include non-fatal injuries suffered at unlicensed daycare centers nor does it include deaths at state-licensed businesses. As discussed below, merely having a state license is no guarantee that a daycare center provides a safe environment for the children entrusted to their care.
No National Standards for Daycare Providers
Many parents will be surprised to learn there are no national laws or standards that regulate daycare providers. Since each state is free to set its own laws, rules and regulations, state oversight varies from “close’ to “practically nonexistent.” As an example, many states do not require a daycare center to obtain a state license if a provider does not care for more than 6 children at a time. Many states also exempt church-sponsored daycare centers from many of the regulations that apply to their secular counterparts. This lack of uniformity in state supervision will cause many parents to ask “How can I choose a safe daycare center for my child?”
Since many unlicensed daycare centers are operated out of private homes, parents should be very wary when considering a “home-based” provider. Parents should also remember that a local business license is not the same as having a state daycare license since business licenses are issued to anyone who can afford the cost of such a license.
Parents should always ask to see the daycare center’s state license. In most states, state law requires that such a license be displayed in an easily-accessible area of the facility. Furthermore, even if a daycare provider has a state license, parents should confirm that the license is still valid by contacting their state’s licensing agency. In most states, this agency will be a department of Family and Children's Services or Health and Human Services.
Contacting a Daycare Center Accident Injury Lawyer
As mentioned above, most daycare centers provide a safe environment for their young clients. However, some daycare providers make a deliberate choice to operate outside their state’s child welfare laws. These unlicensed daycare centers account for a significant number of child injury accidents.
If your child was the victim of a daycare accident injury, you should speak with an experienced daycare injury lawyer who is familiar with your state’s daycare laws and regulations. One such lawyer is the daycare accident injury lawyer at The Doan Law Firm, a personal injury law firm with offices located throughout the country.
When you contact our firm to discuss the facts in your child’s daycare center accident injury case, your case review and first consultation with out daycare center accident injury lawyer is always free and does obligate you to hire our firm to represent you in court. Should you decide that a lawsuit is in order, and that you would like for us to act as your legal counsel, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.