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Child Care Drop-Off Goes Wrong

In Lowell, Massachusetts, Acre Family Child Care operates buses that transport children to and from their own, and other, day care and child care facilities. They notified Theresa James that her daughter Ashley's day care would be closed for a week and that she would be taken to a different, close-by day care for that week.

However, for reasons still unknown and under investigation, the bus driver dropped her off at the closed facility without waiting to make sure that an adult was home.

Ashley said, "My day care lady is always outside the door waiting for me and then I walk in and she wasn’t, I kept knocking on the door and no one opened."

Ashley was at the doorstep for 45 minutes before a neighbor's daughter spotted her.

In a statement given to local newspaper the Tri-City Herald, Flynn said, "They're hoping this will bring to light people having concerns or wondering if something is going on, and that they will be diligent about checking."

The lawsuit names as defendants: Kid's World Childcare; Joi Caulfield, director of the Richland center where the boy was sexually assaulted; and Ginger Still, executive director of Kid's World.

Kid's World Childcare has three locations.

Still told reporters who contacted her at the Richland center, that she didn't know about the lawsuit and couldn't comment on it.

Great News On The Work Comp daycare workers compensation law Front...or is it?

As of January 1, 2010 there will no longer be two separate class codes for workers compensation in child care. The driver / cook code is being abolished in all 32 states that adhere to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) rates and rules. The teacher code is being maintained and all payroll will be accounted for in this single code.

This appears to be great news for two primary reasons. First, the premium is substantially less for the teacher code. Second, the bookkeeping involved in maintaining separate payroll records for time spent driving or cooking versus teaching is quite complicated. You can save money and aggravation with this work comp rule change.

As always, though, there is a coming downside. Work Comp for child care has not always been easy to obtain. Many insurance companies have not been anxious to write this coverage because average premiums have been small and because the types of claims workers experience are generally soft tissue (back injuries and slip falls) which are notoriously difficult to settle. Small average premiums means that all the costs involved in writing a policy are much less attractive to the insurer. For example, if the insurer can spend $200 writing a $12,000 premium or $200 writing a $1200 premium, they will pick the $12,000 premium every time. Unfortunately, early childhood education facilities fall into the $1200 average premium.

Another potential downside is that the rate per one hundred dollars of payroll for childcare teachers will have to go up. Since this rate has been subsidized by the higher rate paid for cooks and drivers and that subsidy is disappearing, the teacher rate will have to stand on its own merits. So, although we’ll see rates go down over the next 12—24 months they will inevitably go up. As the rates go up, all schools will be impacted be the increased rates; in 2010, only schools with cooks and drivers will experience the decreased premium.

In summary, my work comp predictions for 2010—2012:

  • Premium will decrease in 2010 for schools with drivers and cooks
  • Insurers will see an increase in loss ratios for child care work comp
  • Insurers will see a higher expense load on work comp for child care
  • Insurers will withdraw from this class of business
  • School owners will have trouble buying work comp
  • State run “high risk” pools will charge school owners higher premiums
  • Premiums will begin to rise for all school owners

 

Employees Walk Off Leaving Children Unattended

The story reported by WESH Channel 2 Orlando news about the re-opening of a child care center in west Orlando, after three employees walked out leaving the children unattended, serves to underscore the fact that no one will watch out for your students and your business like you will. http://www.wesh.com/news/24210082/detail.html?taf=orl

After the director fired an employee, the director then left the center to run errands. The two employees she left behind walked out after she had left, leaving the thirteen children unattended.

Fortunately, as far as one can tell from the article, no children suffered any harm during the time they were left alone.

While you might argue that the director had no way of knowing that her employees would abandon the children, that does NOT eliminate her liability.

What can we learn from this episode?

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