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Does My Childcare Provider Carry Liability Insurance?

10-24-16    


Insurance coverage is a major point to discuss with any childcare provider, whether licensed or not.

Licensed child care centers are required by Ohio law to carry liability insurance.

Licensed type A and Type B homes (see prior post for definitions) must carry liability insurance for incidents that occur in connection with operation of the facility. The minimum insurance must provide coverage in the amount of $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 in aggregate. This means the facility can have three $100,000 settlements paid on its behalf before the maximum (aggregate) is reached. Once the aggregate is reached, the policy is said to be exhausted, meaning there is no insurance coverage left.

Ohio law provides that in the alternative to maintaining liability insurance, the facility may obtain a sworn statement from the parent(s) to verify understanding that the provider does not carry insurance. If you have not signed a sworn statement such as this, the facility is required to maintain insurance.

However, just because insurance is required does not mean the provider is complying with the requirement.

What if my childcare provider is not licensed?

Unlicensed childcare providers are not required by law to carry insurance.

An unlicensed provider providing care in their home might tell you he or she has homeowner’s insurance. But unless there is a specific rider that is attached to the policy specifically providing coverage, homeowner’s insurance will not apply.

The Bottom Line

Even if you are told that a childcare provider carries insurance, you need to proactive. Ask your childcare provider to provide you with proof of insurance!

Don’t accept an oral representation. Demand to see the insurance documentation that shows that the child care services are covered by the policy.

Proof of insurance is something that the provider can easily obtain from their insurance company if they have the coverage.

Contact Rinehardt Law Firm

If you believe your child has been neglected or abused by a childcare provider, or if your child was injured due to inadequate supervision or because of poorly maintained facilities, call us for a free consultation.


What If My Child Is Injured At Daycare?

10-17-16    

kid injured

It is mid-morning at work, and your cellphone rings. You see it is the daycare center calling. Every parent knows that dreaded feeling. What’s wrong? What happened? Is my baby okay?

If your child is injured while at a licensed daycare, Ohio law provides for who has to be notified and when depending on the type of injury that occurred.

When is an Incident Report Required?

According to Ohio law, an incident/injury report must be completed by the child care staff member in charge of the child when the following occur:

  • An illness, accident, or injury which requires first aid treatment;
  • A bump or blow to the head;
  • Emergency transporting; or
  • An unusual or unexpected event which jeopardizes the safety of children or staff, such as, a child leaving the center unattended.

Who Must Be Notified and When?

The center must document the incident/injury using the Job and Family services form JFS 01299 “Incident/Injury Report”. The completed report must be given on the day of the incident/injury to the parent, guardian, or person picking up the child from the center. In situations requiring emergency transportation, the incident/injury report must be available at the center for the parent or guardian within at least twenty-four hours following the incident/injury. Copies of incident/injury report forms must be kept on file at the center for at least one year, and must be available for review by the director’s representative.

The center administrator must speak with a representative from the appropriate licensing office within twenty-four hours during the week (or within forty-eight hours if the incident occurs on a weekend or holiday) if any of the following occur:

  • Death of a child at the center.
  • Any situation occurring while a child is in care of the center, that requires emergency medical treatment or professional consultation or transportation for emergency treatment
  • An unusual or unexpected event which jeopardizes the safety of children or staff, such as a child leaving the center unattended.

Written notification to the licensing agency must follow the twenty-four-hour verbal notification. This incident report must be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed or submitted online to the licensing office within three business days from the occurrence. Submission of the incident report alone does not fulfill the verbal notification requirements.

If there are concerns of child abuse or neglect, there must also be notification and reporting to the public children services agency in addition to the incident report requirements.

Contact Rinehardt Law Firm

If you believe your child has been neglected or abused by a childcare provider, or if your child was injured due to inadequate supervision or because of poorly maintained facilities, call us for a free consultation.


Choosing the Right Childcare: Safety Rules that Apply to Daycare Providers

10-10-16    

Kids at childcare

Because there’s nothing more precious than the safety of our children, it is important to know what regulations apply to daycare providers, and to make sure those safety rules are followed.

Some types of child care must be regulated, while other types of child care may operate without a license.

Types of Providers

In Ohio, only child care centers and larger in-home providers (with seven to twelve children) must be licensed. A center is a provider that cares for seven or more children of any age. Child Care Staff Members must be at least 18 years old and have a high school education or must have completed a training program approved by the Department of Human Services

Type A Homes must also be licensed. A Type A Home is care in the provider’s personal residence for seven to twelve children (or four to twelve children if four children are under two years of age). The provider’s own children under six years of age must be included in the total count.

Type B Homes may be operated without a license. A Type B Homes is care in the provider’s personal residence for no more than six children. No more than three children may be under two years of age. The provider’s own children under six years of age must be included in the total count. Type B homes must be certified by the county department of Job and Family Services if the child care is paid for with public funds.

Other types of care that do not require a license include care provided in a child’s own home; programs which operate two weeks or less a year; programs where parents remain on the premises (unless at the parent’s employment site); specialized training in specific subjects, such as art, drama, dance, and swimming; and programs which operate one day a week for no more than six hours.

Staff to Child Ratios

Ohio law provides for staff to child ratios. Keep in mind, these are minimum requirements. The best care is often provided at a lower staff to child ratio. For example, staff-to-child ratio is especially important for infants. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a single provider care for no more than three children younger than age of 2 at once. However, state licensing laws allow for five infants per adult. You want to make sure the staff has plenty of time to change diapers properly, provide feedings, and still have time left for play time. The staff to child ratios are:

  • Infants (birth and under 12 months) — 1 to 5 (or 2 to 12 in the same room)
  • Infants (12-18 months) — 1 to 6
  • Toddlers (18 months-2 1/2 years) — 1 to 7
  • Toddlers (2 1/2 years to 3 years) — 1 to 8
  • Pre-School (three years) — 1 to 12
  • Pre-School (four to five years) — 1 to 14
  • School Age (kindergarten to 11 years) — 1 to 18

Using the Rules to Help Choose the Right Childcare

The purpose of Ohio’s child care licensing regulations is to reduce the risk of harm to children while they are participating in out of home care. The serious risk rule violations of the Ohio Administrative Code fall into three distinct categories: Lack of Supervision, Administrative Negligence, and Environmental Hazards. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has developed a guide for providers to use as a tool to help focus on those areas of rules which present the greatest risk of harm to children. These rules, if violated, could immediately endanger the health and safety of children in care. As a parent, when choosing childcare, you can also be aware of these rules while visiting the center or in-home care. You can ask questions and observe whether the child care provider has devised and implemented systems to assure your children are in the safest and healthiest environments possible. Even if the childcare you choose in not a licensed facility, you can still use the guide to make sure that the provider is adequately supervising your child, has qualified personnel, and the facility is properly maintained.

Just because a home is licensed, does not mean the child care provider is following the rules. Ohio’s child care centers are inspected prior to receiving a license, and after license issuance one to two times per year. Centers will also be investigated in response to complaints. Ohio’s child care centers must post their license in a conspicuous place where parents can see it. They must also post copies of inspection reports for parent’s review. Ask prospective childcare providers where these things are posted.

You can also ask whether the child care provider has been accredited by a national organization. Providers that are accredited have met voluntary standards for child care that are higher than most state licensing requirements. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) are the two largest organizations that accredit child care programs.

Contact Rinehardt Law Firm

If you believe your child has been neglected or abused by a childcare provider, or if your child was injured due to inadequate supervision or because of poorly maintained facilities, call us for a free consultation.


It Takes a Big Heart to Shape a Little Mind—Choosing the Right Childcare

10-03-16    

Kids Playing

The first question you must ask yourself is what type of care do you prefer for your child. Is hiring a nanny for in-home care an option? Is a neighborhood babysitter the right fit? Is a program at church best? Or do you want your child in a daycare center with other children?

Budget is often the foremost factor in choosing the type of child-care. Whatever your budget, below are some tips for making the right selection for your child.

Narrow Your Search

The first step in choosing childcare is to make a list of the options. A good place to start is the Action for Children website. Here, you can enter your zip code, and the site will generate a list of day care options near you. The site has a rating system called “Step-Up to Quality,” a statewide tiered accreditation system that assigns facilities one to five stars.

Another helpful resource, whether you are in the market for a provider or you have already chosen one, is the Ohio Job and Family Services website. If a facility is licensed, you can look at its inspection reports online and view the results including citations issued. Serious citations affecting health and welfare of the children are highlighted in the reports in red.

Next, narrow your list based on affordability and availability. Calling ahead can save time here. Make sure there is an opening for your child and that the center is within budget. Try to keep a minimum of three options on your list so you can compare and contrast.

Ask Questions

Next, set up a visit. Before you go, make a list of questions you want to get answered while there. Also, make a list of your expectations for the provider, and create a checklist based on those expectations.

Some questions you might want to ask are “what does a typical day look like?”, “what would she be learning?”, “what activities do you offer?”, “what is the child to staff ratio?”, “how will I receive information about my child?”,”Is the provider licensed?”, “Is the provider insured?”

Make notes starting with your first contact with the provider. Does a responsible and friendly person answer the phone when you call to schedule the visit? Continue note taking when you arrive. Do the children look happy and engaged? Is the facility clean and organized? Does the staff seem confident and calm? Is the facility bright and cheerful? Is there enough staff to tend to the needs of the children?

Make sure the staff is certified in CPR and first aid. If your child has a food allergy, make sure there are provisions in place to accommodate. Also, make sure there is a protocol in place to disinfect the toys and surfaces to reduce the spread of germs.

Above all, trust your intuition. Your gut will tell you if it is the right fit for your child. If you have any safety concerns whatsoever, err on the side of caution, and keep looking.

Contact Rinehardt Law Firm

If you believe your child has been neglected or abused by a childcare provider, or if your child was injured due to inadequate supervision or because of poorly maintained facilities, call us for a free consultation.


Child Passenger Safety Week

09-16-16    


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is getting ready to launch National Child Passenger Safety Week. This year, National Child Passenger Safety Week will run from September 18th to the 24th.

Richland Public Health has a certified child car seat technician on staff who can check your child safety seat and assist in proper installation. Child car seat checks are conducted on Fridays. Call 419-774-4726 to schedule an appointment. AAA in Ontario also has a child car seat technician on staff. Contact Arlene Walker at 419-529-8500 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children between one and 13 years of age, the goal of the NHTSA is to raise awareness about proper choice, use and installation of child safety seats.

What the Statistics Tell Us

  • In 2014, approximately 24 percent of children between the ages of four and seven years old were prematurely moved to seat belts.
  • Approximately nine percent of children in that age group went unbuckled in 2014.
  • Every 33 seconds, a child under 13 is involved in a crash.
  • More than one-third of children under the age of 13 who died in crashes in 2013 were unbuckled at the time of the crash.
  • From 2010 to 2014, there were 398 children killed while riding in the front seat.
  • In 2014 alone, an estimated 112,000 children under the age of 13 were injured in car crashes.
  • In 2014, there were 252 children under age five were saved because they were riding in the correct car seats.

Choosing The Right Car Seat

The NHTSA has a variety of resources for parents who are shopping for new car seats or for those who are wondering when their child is ready to move up into a larger car seat or booster seat. Whether you are using a new or used car seat, take your car seat to a certified car seat inspection station, to ensure it is the right child safety seat for your child’s age and size. Register your car seat with the manufacturer, so you can get important updates about potential safety recalls. Finally, remember that all child passengers under the age of 13 years old need to ride in the back seat.

The team at Rinehardt Law Firm wishes everybody a safe and productive Child Passenger Safety Week. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Mansfield, Columbus or in any of the surrounding communities, call us at 419-LAW-2020 for a free case consultation.

Ready to get Started?

We’re here to help you and your family get back on track after an accident. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation.