Georgia Daycare Burn Victim Brings Attention to Abuse Cases
The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services is responsible for investigating claims of child abuse in the state. The DFCS gives concerned residents the chance to call and file an anonymous report when they fear that a child is abused at home or elsewhere. A recent case in the early part of 2014 brought more attention to the idea of burns as a form of abuse. This case involved a daycare working hiding the burns that a child received while under her care.
Georgia Daycare Case
Eddye Pittmon was a 55-year-old woman working at a daycare facility in Georgia. Megan Seabolt noticed significant burns on the legs of her 16-month-old son after she picked him up from the center. Hospital workers and investigators later determined that the child received no medical attention for a number of hours. Police arrested Pittmon, the owner of the daycare center and the owner’s daughter on charges of abuse. The report indicated that Pittmon attempted to care for the child herself and that she did not notify authorities or tell the mother of the injury. According to investigators, Minnie Dupree, the owner of the day care center, told her workers to not inform anyone of the injury. The burn victim later received medical treatment, and doctors diagnosed the boy with second-degree and third-degree burns.
Child Abuse Laws in the State
Georgia uses different definitions to describe child abuse and child neglect. Child neglect affects cases where a parent, guardian or adult in charge deliberately does not take care of a child. This might include a daycare worker locking a child in a closet, a guardian leaving a toddler in a playpen all day or a parent not providing a child with a basic level of medical care. Abuse refers to any type of physical injury a child sustains at the hands of another. It also includes sexual abuse, which is any type of sexual contact between an adult and a child, and emotional abuse.
Reporting Burns and Abuse Cases
Georgia and other states require that certain people look for signs of abuse and report those signs. Those who fail do so can face jail time, fines and other penalties. This does not include the parents of other children and neighbors. It mainly refers to doctors, nurses and others working in medical settings, social workers and teachers and others who work with children throughout the day. The DFCS lets those workers make an anonymous report about the abuse. The parents or guardians of the child will never know who made the report.
Penalties for Burns and Child Abuse
Accidental burns can occur because adults in the house weren’t properly watching the children or because the kids were too close to an open flame. After a short investigation, the authorities will rule this an accident and close the case. If the authorities deem that the burns were a sign of abuse, the abusers face some steep penalties. A high fine and several years in jail are common penalties for abusers.
Georgia may also bring down penalties on those convicted of not reporting some form of abuse, including sexual abuse or the deliberate burning of a child. Those penalties can include up to five years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. Turning to an attorney when facing these charges can get the defendant some help.