One of the most difficult jobs for a daycare director is likely that of being forced to answer to allegations of child abuse caused by a staff member. No matter how unpleasant you feel the task may be, state law requires child care directors to answer to Child Protective Services for any reports of child abuse that parents or other staff members report. It’s also your duty to the child.
The Director’s Role
Once CPS receives a report of suspected child abuse or neglect by a child care or daycare provider, the director needs to respond to those allegations in a timely, professional and helpful manner. There are several things the director should do during the investigation by CPS or law enforcement personnel such as:
- Cooperate fully with the investigation and provide any requested information in a timely manner.
- Work with CPS or the law enforcement personnel in order to make a decision when it is appropriate to speak with the child care worker who is suspected of being abusive or neglectful to the children. While the director may harbor feelings of loyalty to the staff, it is important to listen to what the investigators ask you to do. While it is important to protect the rights of everyone – even the accused, if someone lets the alleged perpetrator know about the investigation, there may be enough time to allow the employee to hide any evidence, pressure a co-worker into remaining quiet, or talk a child into changing his or her story.
- The director needs to advise the all staff members, including the accused, to fully cooperate with authorities and provide whatever information they request and remind them of policies concerning confidentiality. The staff needs to understand they do not have authority to discuss the allegations with the media, parents, or anyone else as this may have a negative bearing on the investigation.
- During the investigation, the accused staff member should not have any direct contact with children whether that means placing him or her on administrative leave or assigning duties of a different nature.
- Find out from the CPS caseworker whether they will be notifying other parents who have children in the program about the case. They may wish to do this in order to assess whether other children can corroborate charges about mistreatment by the accused staff member.
- The director should handle any requests for information coming from the media and also explain to the staff how authorized personnel will handle these requests. These requests should involve consultations with CPS in order to avoid jeopardizing the investigation or breaking agreements of confidentiality.
- Follow the policy of the individual program concerning notification of other staff members and concerned parties.
- Notify the licensing agency about the allegations—this should be done within 24 hours or as the state statues dictate.
- The director needs to pass on to CPS authorities any relevant information he or she receives from staff, parents, or other children.
- The director should provide other staff members with counseling and support services as necessary during the investigation.
The director is the first point of contact for CPS when a report is filed or needs to be filed. If you believe that your child was abused by a daycare worker and the director is not handling your complaint in a professional and ethical manner, we urge you to call Rasansky Law Firm right away. We can be reached 24/7 at 1-877-403-9378.