What do I do about daycare teacher who touched my stepdaughter?

Dear Stop It Now!,

My husband walked in on a male daycare teacher rubbing my stepdaughter’s breasts.  My husband told the guy to get his hands off of her and the guy said “sorry, sorry”. He immediately let the manager know what happened. She claimed nothing happened and the teacher is still there.

Dear Concerned Stepparent,

This is a very concerning situation and further steps should be taken to make sure that your stepdaughter is safe.

Filing reports

I would strongly suggest that your husband contact the local police department and report what he observed. His observation and concern deserves further attention, and over all, child protection folks are the best ones to help sort out potential serious problems. Please look at our online information on Filing Reports. You can also notify your local child protection services to make a report. To find your closest CPS, call ChildHelp, 1.800.4ACHILD (800.422.4453) to report suspected child abuse.

If this day care is licensed, as they are in most states, you may also want to consider contacting the licensing division. You can both report your concern and ask whether there have ever been previous issues raised about this day care.

Talking with others

Have there been any other concerns that have come up regarding this particular teacher or any other teacher’s behavior at this daycare? Take a look at our prevention tip sheet, Behaviors to Watch for When Adults Are With Children.  If your stepdaughter’s mom is involved, can she contribute to any actions you take to respond to the safety concerns?

Can you speak with any other parents to see if any of them have ever observed any concerning behaviors or have had questions about safety in the program? While I’m not suggesting that you form an angry mob, it may be helpful to know whether there has been a history of concerns and other parents that share your concern.

Relationship with the daycare

It is very unfortunate that the manager has not offered a more thorough follow up. In essence, it is also her job to file a report on her teacher. Are you aware of the program’s safety policies? Many programs do have policies stating how they handle any suspected child maltreatment reports.

Please look at our prevention tool Nine Questions Parents Need to Ask When Selecting a Program for their Child and Safety in Daycare/Educational Settings talks about what the program should know about prevention.  I would recommend strongly that a conversation with the manager about the day care’s practices and responsibilities towards children’s safety happen as soon as possible.

I am sure you’re wondering whether it is safe to leave your stepdaughter in this program. Knowing that your husband observed first hand a situation that should be investigated and that the program’s response was more dismissive than anything, I would encourage some very serious thinking about whether this is a program that responds to a child’s safety needs in the way you would want. Even if the teacher’s behavior was completely “innocent”, the manager should still have responded with understanding and information.

Responding to your stepdaughter

How is your stepdaughter doing?  Is she showing any warning signs of possible abuse? Please watch her closely, notice if she appears unusually troubled or distressed, or is demonstrating new behaviors that seem unusual. If you do notice any warning signs or other physical symptoms of concern, start with a consultation with your pediatrician.

Again, I’m glad that you and your husband are not letting this go. I hope this information is helpful, and please do not hesitate to contact us back with any additional questions. 

Take care,
Stop It Now!

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Last edited on: August 8th, 2012