An early morning attack at a daycare facility in Queens on September 21st is drawing attention to the importance of evaluating the mental health of employees who have easy access to children. The incident, which left three infants and three adults (including the alleged assailant) hospitalized, demonstrates the importance of proper staffing of daycare and maternity centers.
Thousands of New Yorkers rely on these types of facilities, including centers that provide overnight care for babies, in order to maintain their work schedules. These companies have special licensing requirements, which include fingerprinting and background checks. Though these services provide critical safety features, such as preventing people convicted of dangerous crimes, from working in these centers, daycare facilities should not consider these background checks the only vetting that should be done.
Passing a fingerprint check is no guarantee against abuse, and daycares should have systems in place to recognize potential abusers. Employees who are making flippant and inappropriate comments should be carefully evaluated regarding potential safety concerns, and protocols should be in place to limit the risk one staff member can pose to multiple children.
In this instance, one woman was able to injure multiple children without being interdicted, and the attack ended when she chose to hurt herself rather than continuing to hurt others. Whether or not proper staffing ratios were maintained is still up for investigation.
If your child has suffered an injury at daycare or at school, determining whether or not a proper number of adults were available for supervision is important. All too often children are left vulnerable to an abusive individual because facilities are understaffed, or because workers are undertrained. Please, consult with an experienced attorney regarding your case, and hold schools and daycare facilities responsible for their staffing.