childcare facilities

With improper childcare facilities, many children on life risk in Texas



As per a recent investigation conducted by Austin-American Statesman investigation as many as 450 children were sexually abused and 88 others lost their lives due to negligence and physical abuse. Such trends certainly indicate a lack of security legislation to be implied on Childcare units in Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already taken note of the rising issues in Texas childcare facilities. Recently he pledged to address daycare related issues in the next legislative elections.

Abbott’s former spokesperson, Ciara Matthews, in response stated that, “Governor Abbott’s top priority has always been the safety of Texans, especially when it comes to our children.”

She further added, “Any allegation of child abuse or neglect must be taken seriously, and the governor will not tolerate it in Texas. He will work with the Legislature and key stake holders to identify strategies and solutions to prevent these tragedies from occurring in the future.”

The report and the statistics presented have raised serious concerns in the state relating to existing Childcare facilities. Also, it had created a sense of awareness about such a sensitive manner among state legislators already in this context.

The major incidents documented in the report were of Shawna Diaz son, a three-year-old, who died in Houston Daycare in 2016. Ms. Diaz is also working closely with Rep. Ana Hernandez, D-Houston for ensuring that legislation is passed for installation of cameras in all childcare facilities.

While some parents have been in favor, many have raised concerns over the installation of cameras in day care facilities. On part of childcare workers, it is expected to add undue stress to their working hours with the pressure of constant surveillance.

State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, is also planning on introducing the draft of a similar bill as introduced by her and state Rep. Linda Koop, R-Dallas, which focused on assessment of Texas’ staff-to-child ratios in day care, which is considered to be highest in the country. The assessment already implies that children in day care are prone to negligence.

As per Zaffirini’s statement, “By providing important data regarding staff-to-child ratios and injuries at Texas day-care centers, this bill would allow us to make well-informed, evidence-based policy decisions.

“Our children are our most precious resource and ensuring their safety should be a top priority for the Legislature.”

State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, among other legislators has been working closely on revoking the Department of Family and Protective Services launched in 2013, the aim of which was to crack down illegal centers that reported higher incidents of negligence, registered other than with the state. This continued check at that time led to dropping of number of illegal childcare facilities that the state found dropped close to half.

There are various solutions other than stated ones like compliance of liability insurance, regardless of the size of the operation which will push daycare units to keep more safety precautions. Hopefully, the next legislative session will have a positive bend towards the recommended solution to break the trend of daycare casualties.

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