A previous post on this blog described a tragic case in which a young child died at a California preschool program. While this happened at a public institution, the incident may raise concerns in the minds of many parents who drop their children off at one of the Bay Area's many child care facilities.
Fortunately, daycares in this state generally need to be licensed in order to operate legally. Along with the requirement to be licensed comes the obligation to follow a series of state regulations.
These regulations cover a range of topics, from employment practices to how a child care center designs and maintains its facilities. Importantly, these regulations guide how child care centers must keep the places where the children in their care learn and play safe and secure.
In many cases, these regulations exist precisely because the state wants children who attend daycare to remain healthy and well. This is, of course, important for a number of reasons. People rightly place a high value on the health and well-being of children for its own sake. Moreover, parents entrust their children to these facilities, and they have every right to expect that their children will be safe while in the care of the facility's staff.
Granted, a facility's violation of a regulation does not mean that a parent whose child gets hurt at a daycare will automatically receive compensation. Still, the parents may be able to use the daycare's noncompliance as proof that the parents are entitled to recovery for the costs of caring for their injured child. Additionally, other non-economic damages, like emotional distress and pain and suffering, may be available.