SOESD / School Improvement Services / Child Care Resource Network / Start & Operate a Home Child Care Program / Developing Policies
Policies are simply the way you do business. The professional child care provider has policies written in sufficient detail that parents, substitute providers, and even children old enough can clearly understand your business philosophy and practices. Your business will operate more smoothly if you and the parents have a mutual understanding of your services and expectations. Policies can be presented in a document similar to a contract or in a booklet form.
Remember to consider not only the needs of your business and the children in care, but also those of your family. Encourage questions on issues parents seem unclear on. Policies can be changed, added or deleted as necessary. Common business etiquette is to give your clients as much notice as possible before any change in the policies or the contract (3-4 weeks).
The following items can be considered when developing policies:
- Hours of operation
- Rates, regular care, drop in care
- Fees and deposits
- Substitute or backup provider coverage
- House Rules
- Immunization requirements
- Nap & rest times – are there alternate activities for non-nappers?
- Food - will you or the parents be responsible for meals? Are you on the USDA food program?
- Administering medications - for registered providers to administer medications, prescription and over the counter (or even sunscreen application), must have written authority from a parent or doctor, with instructions, dated and signed.
- Appropriate dress, spare clothes, weather conditions and outdoor play
- Arrivals/Departures - is parking an issue? Will a parent be required to sign the child in and out? Who else is authorized to pick up the child and under what circumstances?
- Field trips - will there be a vehicle involved? Who will drive? What type of notice will parents receive?
- Emergency policy - you need permission to seek emergency medical care for a child. What forms do you have available for the parents to fill out? Does your local hospital require a special form? Who will be your backup in case you are required to stay with a child needing emergency care?
- Illness policy - when are children too sick to come to care? How will children be handled if they become ill during care hours?
- Discipline - how will problematic behavior be handled? What rules do you have? What training have you had to help address it? Ensure that there is a written policy to share and be signed by parents.
- Special needs - what are the accommodations? Is a doctor’s statement needed?
- Admission forms - what forms must be filled out and returned before you will allow a child in care? How often will forms be renewed? How are parents to notify you of changes to the enrollment form (address, employer, doctor)?
Use only those portions that apply to your business, and add to as needed. You may choose to have a place for the parent(s) to sign and date a copy to indicate they have received it. If you need more ideas, contact CCRN and we’ll be happy to assist you.