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Day Care Owner Busted; Toddler Sickened by Pot

A home day care owner in California is under arrest after a toddler in her care was hospitalized for allegedly ingesting pot.

Bina's Family Child Care in Glendale was shut down and tagged as uninhabitable after code enforcement officials found marijuana pipes, mouse droppings and a host of other unsafe conditions.

The day care owner, Roubena Hartounian, is now facing charges of child neglect and endangerment, reports Los Angeles' KNBC-TV.

Child Neglect and Endangerment

When parents or guardians willfully fail to meet a child's basic needs -- food, shelter, clothes, medical treatment and supervision -- they may be charged with child neglect or endangerment.

For day care owner Roubena Hartounian, the issue was lack of supervision and creating an unsafe environment for the children. Her home didn't have functioning toilets or electricity, and the kitchen was full of dirty dishes and improperly stored knives, according to a Glendale police officer.

Mandatory Reporting

As the home day care investigation continues, it may be a good time to be reminded that some adults -- not just parents and day care owners -- can face liability for child abuse or neglect under the mandatory reporting laws in many states.

In California, for example, adults who encounter children through the course of their employment are legally obligated to report any known or suspected child abuse or neglect.

Since the alleged health and safety violations at Bina's Family Child Care were pretty obvious, it wouldn't be surprising if the day care employees (if there were any...) were to face criminal liability for failing to make a report.

When mandated reporters fail to do so, they can be convicted of a misdemeanor and face up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. The parents of the child can also pursue a civil lawsuit against them for damages.

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