Cheri M. Gioe, White, Rebecca E.
Did you know your child-care provider must have a variety of written policies and that they must provide a copy to you?
"The Louisiana Department of Social Services is responsible for publishing licensing standards for child-care programs," said LSU AgCenter associate Cheri Gioe, explaining that the state department regulates and supervises any program providing care for young children.
"These standards provide rules and regulations that protect children and their families, as well as child-care programs and have been adopted into law by the Louisiana Legislature," she added. "And a portion of the standards pertain to mandatory written policies that child-care programs must have and must provide to the families of the children they serve."
Gioe says it is important to ask about all the policies a center may have in place, and she provides these explanations on the policies they are required by law to have:
–Admissions Policy. This policy covers the admissions procedures, fees and so forth.
–Dismissal Policy. This policy is required for protection of the child-care program. The policy should list any situation or issue in which a child may be dismissed from the program.
–Medication Policy. This policy provides a detailed accounting of how and when medication will be administered. While establishing the written policy about medication is mandatory, administering medication by a child-care program is strictly voluntary. (In other words, the medication policy may state that no medication will be given to children by the center’s staff.)
–Transportation Policy. This policy must provide a detailed procedure for transporting children to and from school and on field trips. It must include rules on such issues as visible checks of the vehicle before and after a trip, a detailed accounting of the destination and who attended, provisions for supervision and insurance and permission for transporting children.
–Water Activities. This policy requires permission for children to participate in water activities while in child care. If activities take place in more than 3 feet of water, a certified life guard must be present during the activity.
–Third-Party Release. This policy ensures that only approved people are allowed to pick up a child from child care. All parents are required to provide the center with written information on any people who are allowed to pick up a child and any people who should not be allowed to pick a child up.
–Complaint Procedures. All child-care programs must provide a formal policy regarding procedures for complaints. The Louisiana Department of Social Service must be listed in that policy.
–Open-Door Policy. Simply stated, this policy allows for parents or guardians to visit the program at any time.
–Policy for Photographing Children. Any child-care program using photographs of children must have a written policy defining what will be done with the photographs. Parents may opt not to allow their child to be photographed.
–Discipline Policy. All programs must have a written discipline policy that is distributed to families. Discipline may not include any form of corporal punishment and may not be associated with meals and snacks.
–Abuse and/or Neglect Policy. By law, child-care providers must report child abuse and neglect. The written policy also shall include the telephone number to the local child protection agency.
–Nondiscrimination Policy. Child-care programs may not discriminate when enrolling children.
–Confidentiality Policy. This policy is for the protection of the children and their families and states that any information gathered for enrollment purposes or from situations occurring while a child is in the care of the provider is to be kept confidential.
The LSU AgCenter’s "Be Child Care Aware!" educational program is designed to educate parents and child-care providers about quality child care. It is funded, in part, through a contract with the Louisiana Department of Social Services’ Office of Family Support.