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Daycare and Child Abuse-What you Should Know

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Daycare and Child Abuse-What you Should Know

One of the most frequent concerns for many parents in placing their child into daycare is the fear their child won’t be cared for as well as they should. If you are considering daycare for your child it is important to know that the large majority of child care centers and daycares provide warm and capable care that is safe, secure and healthy. That said; however, there is no denying the fact that a small percentage of child abuse incidents do occur in day care each year. Read on for tips to help make sure your child doesn’t become a victim and how to spot possible problems.

One of the most important steps you can take in protecting your child is to listen to him. Generally, most young child won’t make comments that could be abuse related unless there is some merit to the matter. Therefore, it is important to carefully listen to what your child is saying and give credence to anything that may seem out of the ordinary. If your child does make a comment that might lead you to suspect there is a problem, it is also important to not overreact. Of course, this can be difficult when you suspect there might be child abuse involved, but it is imperative that you remain calm. If you overreact by showing the shock and horror you feel or even the disbelief, your child could begin to withhold critical information that is necessary to get to the bottom of the situation.

Avoid the temptation to force your child to give up more information than he or she is willing if you suspect abuse. Do not force your words or images onto them. It is imperative that the child be able to relate what has occurred in their own words. As soon as you can, write down notes about what your child has told you, but wait until your child has finished speaking.

Remember that you don’t need to prove that abuse has occurred in order to report it and start an investigation. If you suspect any child abuse occurring, report it immediately to your local Department of Human Services office. The report you make will be kept confidential whenever possible.

Educate yourself on the types of abuse that could occur. Remember that child abuse isn’t always just physical or sexual, although you should keep an eye out for those as well. Child abuse could also include verbal or emotional abuse as well as neglect. Signs of these types of abuse include consistent hunger, behavioral changes, poor self-esteem, fatigue and avoidance of certain child care workers.

Physical abuse may be indicated by a physical injury accompanied by an inconsistent explanation. It could occur through the actions of a child care worker or even through the omission of a worker-for example, if the worker was not watching the child carefully enough. Signs of sexual abuse could include physical and behavior changes.

Head off potential problems by always making sure you thoroughly research any daycare center before you place your child there. Take a tour of the center, get a feel for how the staff interacts with children enrolled as well as parents, look around to make sure the site appears to be safe and healthy, find out how much experiencing and training the staff has. It is also important to check references. Find out what other parents think about the facility and whether they have had any problems. Finally, don’t forget to follow-up. Drop-in occasionally unannounced to find out how things are really going even after your child is enrolled. If there is a problem, this is a good way to uncover it.