Georgia law designed to reduce risk of injuries to children
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently signed into law a bill that requires background checks for all child care workers in Georgia. One potential reason behind the law may be an attempt to avoid future "legal debacles" like the one that occurred at Macon's Progressive Christian Academy, as reported by a local Georgia newspaper, The Telegraph. The academy, now closed, did not conduct a national background check and hired a woman to serve as the child center's manager who had a felony conviction in Florida. The center also hired her husband, who was also a felon, to serve as the academy's maintenance worker.
Legislatures throughout the state are voicing support for the bill. Senator Butch Miller thanked Gov. Deal for signing the bill into law, stating it "demonstrates the state's ongoing commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of our children."
Legislatures are hopeful the ability to check state and national criminal records of employees and applicants will reduce the risk of day care injuries to children.
Details of the bill
Previous law did not include a national background check. This new bill extends the law to examine whether or not an applicant has convictions in other states as well as Georgia. The law requires a state and national criminal background search be completed through use of a fingerprint record check prior to employment. It applies to both new applicants as well as current employees in early child care professions.
This law specifically prohibits operators of these centers from employing individuals with certain past criminal convictions, including various felonies, sexual offenses, robberies and acts of violence. The law applies to all employees, and defines an employee as anyone age 17 or older who is employed by the center to perform "any duties which involve personal contact between that person and any child being cared for at the facility" with or without compensation.
Day care injuries in Georgia
Georgia's Department of Public Health notes 67 percent of children in the state attend some form of child care facility. Those who leave children in the care of a day care center trust the facility to provide reasonable care for their children. Although accidents can happen, no child should be the victim of injuries that result from intentional misconduct or neglect.
If a child was injured due to the abuse or neglect of a child care provider, compensation may be available to cover the cost of medical and rehabilitative costs as well as pain and suffering. Contact an experienced Georgia day care injury lawyer to discuss your situation and better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.