In Florida and other States, day care centers and their staff members are responsible for the safety and well-being of the children enrolled in the day care center. This responsiblity is truly among the most important in our society. While the pay is not the highest of all occupations, the responsibilities are nonetheless so important. Most day care centers and their staff members work conscientiously every day to provide for the needs and educational development of the children. There are, however, a number of Florida Day Care Centers that cut corners, employ less than stellar employers, and sadly abuse the very children that the day care center is paid to supervise and protect. When a day care center abuses or neglects a child under its care, should the Florida Department of Children and Families step in and revoke the day care center’s license? There is no simple answer to this question. Like many other legal questions, the answer is “it depends”. The Florida Department of Children and Families is responsible for the licensure and supervision of day care centers. When a child is abused or neglected, it should be reported to and investigagted by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Day care centers in Florida are governed by the Florida Adminstraive Code and other regulation. There is due process to be followed any time that sanctions are sought to be brought against a licensed day care center. If the child continues to be in danger or there are other children in immiment danger, immediate action should be taken to close down the day care center – at least on a temporary basis – so that a proper investigation can be completed and there is no further harm done to that child or other children.
Whether the Florida Department of Children and Families takes action to shut down the facility or not, the parents of the injured child can still seek out legal advice and representation for the injured child. The civil case or claim is not dependent on the DCF investigation and findings. While it would be helpful to have a DCF report filled with helpful statements, evidence, and findings that a child was neglected or abused at the day care center, the DCF does not control the civil case or claim.
In Polk County, Florida, it was reported that the Cypress Oaks School in Winter Haven continues to operate. The Florida Department of Children and Families previously investigated the facility and issued a fine to the owner. There were discussions of revoking the license; however, the Florida DCF ultimatley decided to allow the day care center to continue to operate as long as it was operated by a different owner. You can read more about this story at 9 Investigates – Day Care Center Connected to Abuse Allegations Remains Open.