SEIU members, leaders, and friends,
My name is Janice C. Mendel and as an attorney, I have defended providers for almost twenty years. I have represented providers through many OAH hearings, Compliance Conferences with Regional Managers, and have appealed hundreds of citations. I write to you to share some things I believe Licensing will be focusing on in the child care world during their visits and investigations in 2019.
- Safety: A recent case I had involved a child who fell backward in a preschool chair and fractured his skull. Thankfully, he was not permanently injured. The provider and her assistant were supervising the kids, they were in ratio, so why did the provider get sued? The chair was a 12-inch chair and the child was only 14 months old. He should have been in a 7-inch chair. Be sure to check the manufacturers’ website and have appropriate equipment and/or furniture for the kids.
- Discrimination: The other new issue in daycare is discrimination by providers. The American Disabilities Act is wide open for someone to claim discrimination. Before enrolling a child, be sure to meet the child and observe them with other children. You should also have a clear contract stating there is a probationary period for the children entering your child care. Once you admit a child, you may only dismiss them if there are grounds for dismissal in your contract. If you need to dismiss a child put in writing the reason and do not refer to their disability. In one recent example, a family brought in an 18-pound three-year-old whom the provider admitted without seeing him. Other three-year-olds were 30-pounds and thought the new child was a toy. When it was obvious the new child was unsafe, the provider told the parents, “He is too small.” His disability was his size. The provider could have avoided a lawsuit by saying the child did not fit into the daycare routine according to her contract.
In my next piece, I will discuss how to talk to your Program Licensing Analyst (LPA) in a professional manner to avoid misunderstandings. Remember, do not volunteer information.
Thank you for all you do and until next time,
Janice C Mendel
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, and not Service Employees International Union, Local 99 (“Local 99”). The content of this article is provided to you for informational purposes only. Local 99 does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information published herein, and is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or claims for damages arising out of use, or with regard to the accuracy or sufficiency of the information contained herein. If you need legal advice, you should contact an attorney to obtain advice on your particular matter.