Your child stays at a daycare facility while you work. While they are there, you have to trust that the facility cares for your child and protects their safety. But how can you be sure that your child is receiving proper care?

Child Care Aware reported that 2.8 million children in the United States spend approximately 35 hours a week in organized daycare. A majority of these children receive proper care, but we should not accept the fact that any of these children could suffer neglect or abuse at the hands of their caregivers. Learn the signs of child neglect and abuse to make sure that your child is not being taken advantage of.

Long-term effects on a child’s health

Suffering abuse during their early years can have long-term effects on your child. One study found that 80% of 21-year-olds who suffered childhood abuse had at least one psychological disorder. Long term effects include:

  • Depression
  • Alcohol abuse, drug abuse and tobacco use
  • Suicide attempts
  • Anxiety
  • Higher risk of partner abuse
  • Fear in new circumstances
  • Inability to trust
  • Developmental difficulties

Recognizing signs of abuse and neglect

A number of children in the childcare system are below elementary school age. This makes it difficult for them to understand the neglect or abuse they face, and to communicate it to an adult. As a parent, you should be aware of the warning signs of abuse so that you can advocate on behalf of your child’s health. Some common signs of child abuse include:

  • Unexpected bruises, cuts and other injuries
  • Changes in your child’s behavior
  • Changes in school performance
  • Withdrawal from friends, family members and normal activities
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss in confidence
  • Reluctance to go to daycare
  • Rebellious behavior, acting out
  • Emotional swings, erratic behavior

What can you do?

If you suspect child neglect or abuse, take action immediately.

  1. Remove your child from their daycare facility.
  2. Record all physical and emotional symptoms.
  3. Take your child to their pediatrician for a full examination.
  4. Report the facility to the local police.
  5. Report the facility to New Mexico Protective Services.
  6. Contact a lawyer who can represent you and your child’s interests.

Child abuse and neglect should never happen. Be your child’s best advocate and be aware of what they experience while you are at work.