Child abuse to trigger closing of day care sitesAfter a series of child abuse incidents at day care centers, the government yesterday announced a measure that will allow centers where serious abuse has occurred to be shut down.
Currently, the staff and teachers of those centers are held personally accountable for abuse, no matter how serious. But the new measure will allow officials to close down a center if a child is seriously injured by abuse.
The measure, which could go into effect in October, recognizes psychological damage to children as well as physical punishment as abuse.
In addition to holding day care workers individually responsible for abuse, the measure adds a shuttering of the center for varying lengths of time. Abuse that results in a child’s death will trigger an immediate and permanent closing. If a child suffers serious injuries, the center can be closed for one year, and permanently if a second such incident occurs. Three incidents of minor injuries to children will also result in a closing.
Concern about child abuse at day care centers mounted earlier this month when one teacher at a day care center allegedly hit a 1-year-old child on the back, leaving bruises. A photo of the beaten child went viral, prompting the police to investigate the matter. The teacher involved has been jailed.
Police agencies across the region conducted investigations in May that uncovered other abuse problems in day care facilities as well as embezzlement of day care centers’ funds. The Ministry of Health and Welfare then announced plans to step up its checks at centers to deter abuse.
In addition to those inspections, the ministry said it would screen teachers for a history of abuse or other criminal records in order to prevent unqualified day care providers from working at the centers.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]