Long gone are the days where a typical two-parent household could survive on one income. With the exorbitant cost of living reaching unprecedented figures, most families require two working adults to stay afloat. As a result, working couples with young children are often forced to surrender their offspring to caregivers. Parents are overwhelmingly enrolling children in expensive daycare programs so that they can work to make ends meet.

Childcare programs in Oregon, along with 32 other states and Washington, D.C. cost more than one year’s worth of public, in-state tuition. In Oregon, the second-least affordable state for daycare according to Care.com, most families are allotting 20% of their annual household income to childcare expenses. By other measures, Oregon is the third or the tenth-worst state in which parents can find affordable child care. With the average Oregonian parent paying about $11,322 per year to keep an infant in daycare, one would expect facilities to be top-of-the-line.

Unfortunately, some facilities in Oregon have a poor track record of keeping kids safe or at a bare minimum — alive. Since 2007, eight deaths have occurred at licensed daycare facilities in Oregon. Broadway Children’s Center in Northeast Portland has experienced two tragedies in less than two years. Of the state’s over 4,000 facilities, it is the only licensed facility to report more than one death in the same location.

Two Infant Boys Dead in a Two-Year Span

The Broadway Children’s Center, just three blocks north of the Lloyd Center shopping mall, faced its second emergency suspension shortly after a caregiver discovered an unresponsive 10-month-old boy. Portland police arrived at the facility on October 4th after receiving a report that the baby was not breathing. The infant was then rushed to a nearby hospital where he died two days later.

Though police never revealed the cause of death, the state Office of Child Care alluded to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in its suspension order. Not one person was arrested or so much as accused of wrongdoing following the police investigation.

Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, another infant boy just seven months old died at the same facility in April 2016. Following this incident, state regulators shut the place down and allowed it to reopen after setting new restrictions and mandating a safe sleep policy. The April fatality was also deemed sleep-related, but the cause of death was undetermined, and the police again found no suspicious circumstances.

Police investigations in both cases failed to reveal criminal activity; however, the two cases occurred under eerily similar circumstances. The children in both incidents appear to have succumbed to SIDS, and both died under the watch of the same caregiver.

The caregiver’s attorney claims that none of the investigations turned up proof of wrongdoing, but the Office of Child Care has suspended the worker’s registration to care for children.

What is the State Doing About It?

Besides offering thoughts and prayers, Miriam Calderon, Oregon’s new Early Learning Director, has pledged tougher regulation of care facilities by reducing the amount of time it takes to respond to incidents and hiring more licensing inspectors to conduct more frequent random checks. It is unclear whether the Broadway Children’s Center has shut down for good.

The state officials in charge of protecting our children are not doing enough to keep them safe when they’re out of our hands. Just a month before the Broadway Children’s Center incident, another Portland day care facility accidentally poisoned children and staff. Parents are spending thousands of dollars of hard-earned income to place their kids in facilities they can only hope will do their due diligence. Grieving families or families who have had children sustain severe injuries on the site of such facilities may be entitled to compensation to help them start the recovery process. Experienced Portland personal injury lawyers are on your side when you call Rizklaw at (503) 245-5677 or email info@rizklaw.com.