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Texas Case Brings National Attention To Day Care Operations

November 1st, 2012

Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers have been watching the Jessica Tata case in Houston, Texas with much interest. It is yet another reminder of the tragedies that can result from day care injuries. Sadly, the case involves the deaths of four children who were left in her care while their parents went to work in February 2011.

The trial of Jessica Tata, 24, began with opening statements from attorneys at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse on October 24, 2012. She is accused of murder in the deaths of four deceased children who were in her care at her Houston day care center. Tata has been accused of leaving the children unattended while she went shopping at Target. While she was away, a fire allegedly started when a frying pan with oil in it was left on the stove and ignited. The blaze reportedly caused the deaths of four children and resulted in severe injuries to three others. The ages of the seven children at her daycare ranged from sixteen months to three years old.

Tata, who was born in the United States, reportedly fled to Nigeria after the blaze, where she has citizenship. After being returned to the states in March 2011, she has been in jail on bonds exceeding $1.1 million. She faces four felony murder counts, in addition to three counts of child abandonment and two counts of reckless injury to a child.

Following the incident, state lawmakers enacted changes in the oversight of day care facilities. However, Texas, like many other states, is lagging behind in training requirements, background checks and inspection standards for home day care operations.

According to the North Carolina Child Care Resource & Referral Council, North Carolina ranked 19th in child care center licensing and oversight and 14th in family child care home licensing and oversight, among all states. Child care centers are typically larger facilities, having more experienced employees and the capacity for more children. Family child care homes are smaller day care facilities operating out of someone’s home, with fewer children.

Although child care center requirements are more stringent than those for family child care homes, both only “partially” satisfied the requirement to obtain state and federal background checks for prior criminal activity, child abuse or sex offender registries on all employees. Family child care homes were particularly delinquent in having:

  • Insufficient educational requirements of employees
  • Insufficient first aid and CPR training
  • Insufficient initial and annual training
  • Insufficient developmental toys and materials

No parent should ever have to ever have to face the decision Tiffany Dickerson did on February 24, 2011. She is the mother of two children who were left in the care of Jessica Tata that day. When she was notified of the tragedy, her choices were to go see her severely burned daughter in the hospital or going to the morgue to see her son.

If you or someone you know has had to face any tragedy caused by the neglect of a worker of a day care facility, it is important that you contact a North Carolina personal injury lawyer experienced in handling day care accidents and a proven record.

Auger & Auger is a Charlotte, North Carolina law firm experienced in helping people like you with their personal injury cases. We have five conveniently located offices, three in Charlotte and one each in Raleigh and Greensboro.

Contact us for your no obligation consultation. All cases are handled on a contingency basis so that you will never owe us a fee unless we make a recovery for you.

Other Resources:

Jessica Tata Faces Trial For Fatal 2011 Houston Day Care Fire
, Huffington Post, Article by Juan Lozano, October 22, 2012

North Carolina

Related Blog Posts:

Alabama Incident Serves As A Warning For All Daycare Parents
, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, September 14, 2012

The Harsh Reality of Care At Daycare Facilities
, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, August 24, 2012

Dangers Lurk in North Carolina Day Care Centers
, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 11, 2012

Posted In: Daycare Accidents