How the Media Reports Children’s Deaths in Child Care


A four-month dies of antihistamine overdose in an illegal, unlicensed child care home. The provider is charged with second-degree manslaughter.

A two-month old dies of blunt head trauma in a licensed child care home and the provider is charged with first-degree manslaughter.

An eight-month old child dies in an illegal, unlicensed child care home. The provider was caring for eight children and when she went to check on the baby she noticed she was unresponsive in her crib. The provider was previously licensed but had been shut down for a variety of reasons: exceeding her licensed capacity, having an unqualified assistant, failing to maintain an environment free of fire-safety hazards and poisonous household substances, and failing to obtain proper parental permission slips.

All three deaths occurred within the last six months in Connecticut.

Stories about injury or death of children in child care settings are often the subject of news stories. Any deaths in a child care setting are a tragedy.

A recent article about these death, “For State, Illegal Home Child-Care An Elusive Target” is a unusually thoughtful piece about the difficulty in monitoring illegal child care programs.

Caregivers operating illegally often advertise on Craigslist and parents often chose them because they charge significantly less than licensed programs. State licensing agencies who receive complaints about such providers often do not have the resources to follow up and monitor them.

It’s a difficult problem that can only be adequately addressed with more government oversight and financial support for low-income families.

I was quoted several times in this article.

I’ve written about the problem of illegal child care before:

“What Should We Do About Caregivers Operating Illegally?”

“A Plan to Eliminate Illegal Child Care”

Tom Copeland –

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Categories: Advocacy

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