Many families include parents who both work outside of the home. As a result, the childcare industry is worth billions of dollars. Many parents face challenges finding placements for their children—cost is always a concern, but so is safety. Most parents assume that strict licensing laws and governmental requirements make it easy for them to identify safe providers. What happens when childcare operators misrepresent themselves?
Such was the case in Washington, D.C. at Hebrew Congregation preschool. According to pending litigation, the school allowed unsafe conditions to develop that led to the abuse of young children under their care. The preschool did not carry out basic steps, such as background checks on workers, and ignored government regulations mandating that children remain under the supervision of two adults.
Multiple parents allege other serious violations. Questions remain about how the D.C. government allowed Hebrew Congregation to operate without a license for three years.
Although no criminal charges have been filed against the school, the D.C attorney general initiated civil action against the operators in October 2020. Parents of the children who experienced abuse at the school have also launched lawsuits seeking damages and an acknowledgement of responsibility.
As the attorney general pushes for stronger oversight, other government efforts fall short of protecting children. Florida has largely privatized its foster care system over recent decades while increasing the power of social caseworkers to remove children from potentially abusive situations. With the number of foster children swelling dramatically, overwhelmed agencies have bent, broken, and ignored rules designed to protect kids from abuse.
As a result of the strain on the system, the state and its agencies sent hundreds of children into homes with documented complaints of abuse. Caseworkers lied, falsified reports, and overlooked signs of trouble, including clear signs of abuse. At times, the nonprofits also overlooked troublesome information in background reports.
These serious lapses and persistent shortcomings highlight one of the most difficult challenges facing parents: what if you perform your due diligence, but school operators lie about credentials and cover up allegations of wrongdoing? Parents can only consistently seek out organizations that use childcare background checks to safely hire personnel if those organizations act in good faith.
For operators of childcare facilities and programs focused on working with young children, fostering trust with the community requires thorough safety procedures. Using robust vetting tools, such as the US OneSEARCH from backgroundchecks.com, is one way to develop confidence in the trustworthiness of your staff.
Parents face a greater need than ever to ask tough questions and dig deep regarding every childcare facility’s safety efforts.