Day Care Abuse Results in the Death of a Four Year Old

Three Miami Herald articles, posted since August 2, 2012, confirm Broward authorities determined the cause of death of a 4 year old child named Jordan Coleman. Little Jordan, was left to die of heat exhaustion in a Toyota SUV, while his caregivers took other children inside an apartment building for a nap. They forgot about Jordan who was sprawled across the back seat of the car, asleep. He was not even in a child safety seat. Instead, nobody noticed he was missing.

Nearly 3 hours later, he was found breathless by 3C’s Academy day care workers. Paris Ward and a co-worker discovered his body, but it was too late. Jordan’s body temperature had reached 108 degrees. He was not breathing after having been left inside a car on of the hottest days of the year. Paris Ward was charged with manslaughter; as, she was responsible for the direct supervision of the children. (Miami Herald.com)

This gross negligence and abuse is tragic. No child or adult could have ever survived. The vehicle had no ventilation and outside temperatures were into the 90’s. Broward County day care centers must adhere to regulations established by the Florida Division of Child Care Licensing and Enforcement. However, it is not only the responsibility of the county to enforce its code of conduct, and cite day care centers, whenever they are not compliant. But, centers should be closed down in cases like this, before tragedy strikes.

Instead, the 3 C’s Academy day care center was permitted to operate, despite repeated violations. Unfortunately, the government level of scrutiny was not enough to keep children safe. In reality, the 3 C’s was visited by Child Care Licensing and Enforcement Division officials four times over the last year, and was cited each time! Nevertheless, their doors stayed open for business.

If laws are written in order to protect children from neglect or abuse, then, why wasn’t the 3 C’s Academy shut down before Jordan’s death? For one thing, the day care center was operating over its authorized capacity. The child to adult ratio was above the legal limits in the state regulations. Plus, the 3 C’s was cited for leaving children under the direct supervision of an underage worker. Disturbingly, it was also revealed that there was only one child safety seat in a vehicle used to transport 8 children, including a nine month old baby! How can the public turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of defenseless children?

Despite its mission to regulate, enforce and improve the quality of child care, the Broward County child licensing and enforcement section, merely encouraged compliance with state law for the 3 C’s Academy, rather than making it mandatory. It was known and documented, that the facility was non compliant. On the day that Jordan died, the 3 C’s Academy owner, Cecily Roberts, instructed her employees to take the children to another location so that they would not be cited again, or even shut down. How can we tolerate disobeying the regulations?

Day care abuse and neglect cases are complicated, and personal injury attorneys who are qualified to handle them, understand that the signs of facility abuse are not always easily identifiable. “In this particular case, it would appear that the Community Partnership Division of Child Care Licensing and Enforcement dropped the ball one too many times” said Philip M. Gerson of Gerson & Schwartz, PA. “Obviously, after citations had been issued, there should have been much greater scrutiny over the facility. And, if they are still non compliant, they should have been closed”, Gerson said.

Child abuse or child neglect cases are usually the result of unqualified or inadequately trained or supervised staff members. Incidents of wrongful death and abuse of children at day care facilities have prompted thorough investigations by the law firm of Gerson & Schwartz, PA for decades. Without exception, all complaints or citations regarding child care facilities should be taken seriously.

The innocent victims of abuse cannot protect themselves; and, it is our civic duty to make sure they are safe, at all times. Parents are in the dark about violations of the day care facilities, too often. They trust the safety of their children to day care facilities because reports and citations are not available to the public. If the responsible parties who advocate for children’s welfare and safety do not close down facilities, when there are serious violations, then more children will be put in harm’s way.

If you are concerned that a child may be in danger, do not hesitate to hire a day care and neglect attorney to conduct a thorough investigation of your case. Just compensation is available to families whose children were seriously harmed while in the care of a negligent day care facility. If you suspect child abuse is taking place at a day care or in any situation report it to the authorities; and, then please contact the law offices of Gerson & Schwartz, PA at (305)371-6000 or info@gslawusa.com. All communications are strictly confidential and consultations are always free.

Gerson & Schwartz, PA will fight for the rights of children who have been abused or neglected.

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