Turning the care of your child over to another individual may be a daunting concern for many parents, even if it is only for the workday. Finding a daycare center or service that provides safe and reliable care for your child may be one of your most important parenting responsibilities. While most of these institutions employ trustworthy individuals who make your children’s well-being a top priority, some constitute abusive and dangerous environments for the children under their care. If your child has suffered abuse while at daycare, you are well-advised to seek immediate help.
Abuse, even in the emotional or psychological form, can be extremely damaging to a child’s health. If your child has been abused while under another person’s care, contact daycare emotional and psychological child abuse attorney Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 to discuss your legal options.
Types of Emotional Abuse
The emotional abuse of a child may be perpetrated in many ways, some of which may not appear particularly harmful to the undiscerning adult. Familiarizing yourself with the following forms of abuse so that you know what actions may be psychologically damaging to your child may allow you to recognize abuse when it occurs and stop it from continuing:
- Ignoring a child
- Belittling a child when the child is alone or in front of others
- Rejecting a child
- Isolating a child from adults and/or other children
- Exploitation or corruption of a child
- Verbal abuse of a child when the child is alone or in front of others
- Terrorization of a child
- Neglect of a child
Any of the above actions may qualify as emotional abuse and may have detrimental psychological impacts on a child who is the target of such behavior.
Behavioral Indicators of Abuse
Specific behavioral indicators of emotionally-abused children have been identified, including the following:
- Self-derogatory comments
- Excessive shyness or passivity
- Self-destructive behavior
- Aggressiveness, cruelty, or demanding behavior
- Refusal to engage and interact with other children
Legal Liability for Daycare Emotional and Psychological Abuse of Children
Daycare center employees or private babysitters may abuse children physically and be subject to liability for the harm suffered by the child as a result. In some cases, the abuse is not physical but emotional, and the occurrence of the abuse is more difficult to detect and to prove. According to the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, the emotional abuse of a child is defined as acts or omissions by caregivers that cause or could cause serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders.
Civil Liability of Daycare-Center Employees for Emotional Abuse of a Child
A daycare employee who emotionally abuses a child under a daycare center’s care may be held civilly liable for emotional injuries sustained by the child, under certain circumstances. Civil actions for purely emotional injuries suffered as a result of abuse may be brought as actions for the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Civil Liability of a Daycare Center for Emotional Abuse Committed by Center Employees
If a daycare center has been negligent in the hiring and training of its employees and a child who is under the center’s care suffers a compensable injury as a result of the employee’s negligent, intentional, or abusive conduct, the daycare center may be held liable for damages sustained by the child as a result.
Under certain circumstances, an employer, such as a daycare center, may also be held vicariously liable for the conduct of its employees. This vicarious liability may occur even when the daycare center has not been negligent in either the hiring or training of its employees.
In either of these situations, the conduct of the employee must be actionable in order for the daycare center to be held legally responsible for the injuries sustained by a child as a result of that conduct. In the context of the emotional or psychological abuse of a child by a daycare-center employee, the daycare center may be found liable for the employee’s conduct if it has been established that the employee engaged in the intentional infliction of emotional distress in his or her abuse of the child-plaintiff, resulting in severe emotional stress to the child.
Civil Liability of Babysitter for Emotional Abuse of a Child
An individual who provides private babysitting services may also be found civilly liable for the emotional abuse of a child. As is true with respect to actions against daycare centers and their employees for emotional abuse, a civil action against a private babysitter for emotional abuse of a child entrusted to the babysitter’s care may be brought as an action for the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
If you suspect that your child has been emotionally or psychologically abused while under the care of a babysitter or daycare center, a qualified child-injury lawyer can help you seek the justice you and your child deserve. Contact daycare emotional and psychological child abuse lawyer Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 for compassionate and knowledgeable assistance with your case.