In many personal injury cases establishing a that party is at negligent can be done generally by establishing that the party deviated from the standard of care in the community or by demonstrating that a party failed to abide by a code or ordinance applicable to the facility. When it comes to ordinances, it is important to determine the applicability of the ordinance to the facility.
Regulation and licensing of child care is primarily the responsibility of individual States. The federal government does regulate child care, but federal law only requires that states regulate child care in three areas in order to protect the health and safety of children:
- The prevention and control of infectious disease
- Building and physical premise safety
- Health and safety training appropriate to the program setting
As a result, regulations relating to the health and safety of children in out-of-home child care programs vary wildly from state to state (licensing, child to staff ratios, background checks, training, inspections, health and safety requirements, child development, parent communication and involvement). (State licensing requirements)
These discrepancies mean that some states have more stringent regulations than others do, which means that children in different states are receiving different levels of protection. It is important that the federal government implement more specific requirements for state regulation of child care, so that important issues such as comprehensive background checks are required in every state.
|Developmental Stage||Age||Functional Definition|
|Infant||0-12 months||Birth to ambulation|
|Toddler||13-35 months||Ambulation to accomplishment of self-care routines such as use of the toilet|
|Pre-schooler||36-50 months||From achievement of self-care routine to entry into regular school|
|School-Age Child||5-12 years||Entry into regular school, including kindergarten through 6th grade|
Illinois Laws Applicable to Child Care & Day Care Facilities
In Illinois, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is in charge of setting standards and licensing child care centers, homes, group homes, and day care agencies in the state (Illinois child care Rules). In 2007, Illinois had 2,907 licensed day care centers, 10,050 licensed day care homes, and 473 group day care homes with the combined capacity to serve more than 295 thousand children. (Illinois Daycare Listings)
The Illinois Child Care Act of 1969 (225 ILCS 10) includes licensure requirements, standards, background checks, and responsibilities for child care facilities and institutions (Child Care Act Study Guide). However, the State licensing standards are minimum standards, put in place to protect your children. It stands to reason that child care centers and homes that strive to provide facilities and services that offer more than just the minimum, will also offer better environments for your children. (See “Day Care Worker Leaves Children Unattended in Gym – Situation Demonstrates the Need for More Regulation of Child Care in Alternative Settings”)
Illinois has specific licensing standards for day care homes, day care centers, and group day care homes. These rules are set forth in the Illinois Administrative Code:
- Part 300: Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect
- Part 404: Licensing Standards for Child Care Institutions and Maternity Centers
- Part 405: Licensing Standards for Day Care Agencies
- Part 406: Licensing Standards for Day Care Homes (Summary of Licensing Standards for Day Care Homes)
- Part 407: Licensing Standards for Day Care Centers (Summary of Licensing Standards for Day Care Centers)
- Part 408: Licensing Standards for Group Day Care Homes (Summary of Licensing Standards for Group Day Care Homes)
Of course many provisions in the Illinois Code (and similar codes in other states) are anything but enjoyable to read– hopefully you never will. However, it is important to realize that there are many provisions of state law that are available to you should the need arise. Having a complete understanding the the applicable law remains an essential part of the prosecution of any injury stemming from poor care at a child care facility or institution.
Chicago day care injury lawyers working to secure your child’s future
We are Day Care Injury Lawyers in Chicago who prosecute negligent facilities in situations where a child was injured or abused while under the care of a day care center or child care provider. We offer free consultations and never charge a fee without a recovery for injured child.