It’s the type of situation that no parent should ever have to face, yet it’s unfortunately one that is all-too-common just the same. In May of 2018, one woman from Jacksonville, Florida, reviewed the footage from the nanny camera that she’d installed in her home and found something horrifying: The child’s nanny was violently shaking her youngest son on a regular basis. She said that the most emotional part of all was that she just had to sit there and watch it — her 2-year-old son was screaming for help, and there was nothing she could do about it.
Nanny Camera

However, when she attempted to pursue charges against the nanny, the situation got decidedly more complicated. Florida is what is known as a “two-party consent state,” which means that if any recording is going to happen, all parties involved need to know about it. The nanny camera was hidden — which not only makes it impossible for her to have given consent, but that also means that the video of her abusive behavior will likely not be admitted in a court of law.

 

Changing the Laws in the Name of Justice

In August of 2018, the case entered a county court, and an initial charge of felony child abuse against the nanny was changed to misdemeanor battery. The 30-year-old nanny has already pleaded “not guilty: to the original charge, and it is expected that she will do the same to this new one, too.

But again, the problem has to do with the way that the laws governing surveillance were written in Florida. At this point, it’s literally just a pending case — the same as anything else. It’s hard to say what will happen, but there’s a very good chance that the nanny will walk away free and clear without this critical piece of evidence.

Now that mother wants to enact significant changes in her home state — both in the name of bringing justice for her child and to help make sure that something similar never happens to other parents. The mother has made it her mission to contact literally dozens of lawmakers and medical experts over the past few months to help drum up support for new legislation she wants to pursue. She’s even created a petition on Change.org.

She hopes that by sharing her story, it will accomplish two key goals: First, it will inspire parents to be far more vigilant when they hire babysitters to look after their kids; and secondly, she hopes that it will inspire real change in laws that will help stop this type of situation in the future. She’s already enlisted the help of a private attorney in the area. The Department of Children and Families say that they conducted their own independent investigation into the incident, but those findings are entirely confidential, and the organization has no plans to release them to the public.

Florida is far from the only state where this type of thing is common. Many states are two-party consent states, meaning that if you want to install a camera in your child’s lunchbox to monitor your nanny (as was the case with this mother in Jacksonville), you legally need to inform the nanny about it. This is problematic, as in theory, the nannies would then be on their best behavior. Sure, it would help protect your child — which is ultimately the most important goal of all. But it would do nothing to actually punish people like this for their crimes and correct the problem so that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

At this point, it’s far too early in the process to know what, if any, changes will occur. It’s also too early to know whether or not the nanny in question will ever be accurately and fairly tried for the crimes that she’s already committed. One thing, however, is for sure: It’s certainly a case that parents everywhere should be paying a great deal of attention to moving forward.