The most important job you have in life is to protect your family. There is nothing else that provides the joy and fulfillment that parenting does. Your child trusts you completely to take good care of them.
Likewise, when you put your child in daycare, you trust that they will be safe. When you share your child’s early years with a church family, you believe that those in positions of power will nurture your youngster in a healthy way. When your child joins a community service organization, you believe the adults in charge will guide your son or daughter in a safe, caring manner. But if someone takes away what is precious and abuses your son or daughter – physically, sexually or emotionally — you must take action immediately and you can’t do it alone. Your goal is to heal your family and make sure this doesn’t happen to another child. An attorney who has worked with families affected by child abuse can help guide you through the next few weeks, months or even years.
The experienced attorneys at Carr & Carr have helped families who have had to travel this difficult path. We can help you by:
- Filing a claim against the person or facility responsible for the abuse. Your actions can help prevent this from happening to another innocent family. Moreover, we will work to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
- Referring you to counselors who specialize in child abuse. Parents, siblings and the young victim may all need professional guidance in learning to overcome this tragedy.
- Protecting your family from the media. High-profile cases will frequently be followed by the media; as your attorney, we can be your shield for privacy.
- Helping you understand your rights and your child’s rights. Infants, toddlers, children and teenagers all have rights that need to be protected. A personal injury attorney is your advocate who will be focused on your legal rights.
- Making sure medical issues are considered. In addition to immediate health concerns, there may be ongoing issues or even future medical problems that should be considered.
If You Suspect Abuse
If you think your child was abused:
- Remove your child from the environment.
- Take photos if the abuse is visible, such as cuts, burns or bruises.
- Immediately contact the police.
- Contact a child care abuse attorney at Carr & Carr. We have helped families and children from infants to teens.
Tell-Tale Signs of Abuse
Bruising or other unexplained injuries are only part of the symptoms that your child may have if he or she is being abused. There are many symptoms that a trained counselor or medical professional can help identify. Be alert for:
- Sleep disturbances or sudden bed wetting incidences.
- Increased aggression or rebellious behavior.
- Reverting to younger behaviors that they have already outgrown – for instance, a 4-year-old suddenly starts to suck his thumb
- Inappropriate interest in sexual matters
- Intense fear of going to daycare or severe reaction to a certain caregiver.
Talk with Your Child
Perhaps the most important step is to communicate with your child as early as possible. Create a nonjudgmental space in which your child feels comfortable describing the events of the day. Early on, it might involve “playing school” with your child. In this context, your child can act out the events of a typical day and you can gauge his/her comfort factor with the surroundings.
Also, make sure you have “the talk” with your child. By age 3, children should be capable of understanding that they have personal boundaries that others must not violate. Be clear with them about their right to say a firm “no,” and to call for help from others if these boundaries are disrespected. Let them know they should not be bribed into silence by candy or other treats.
Unfortunately, abusers can be anyone who might come into contact with your child, including:
- Preachers, pastors, priests, music leaders and youth ministers
- Members of the church, synagogue or religious organization
- Employees of the church or daycare including maintenance and office workers
- Child care workers for special events and for daycare facilities
- Leaders in community organizations or volunteer groups
- Coaches or teachers
- Pediatricians or medical office employees
Choosing the Right Daycare Facility
One way to reduce the chance that you might experience abuse problems is to choose a licensed daycare provider. Facilities that are licensed by the state must perform background checks on all employees to detect a history of criminal activities. Often, in-home daycare options are unlicensed and background checks may not be performed.
Before deciding which daycare to use, spend some time in the facility. Working with the director, ask to monitor the facility and classroom where your child will be for a few hours before you make the decision to leave your child there. You’ll get a chance to see the daily routine and learn more about the teachers and how they interact with the children.
If your work situation allows, visit the daycare on an unannounced basis. Drop in at different times during the day and just watch for a few minutes before picking up your child. You have every right to see your child and know who is with them at all times.
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If you suspect that your child has been a victim of neglect or abuse in an Oklahoma daycare, church or other organization, please call the child abuse lawyers at Carr & Carr at 866-510-0580 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. With offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, we are here to help you and your family when you need it most.