Preventing Abuse in Child Care Programs

Over the past couple of weeks, we have talked about identifying and reporting suspected child abuse.  This week, we’ll address the most important aspect…preventing child abuse.

Most child care licensing agencies have regulations in place to help programs minimize the risk of child abuse.  These may include comprehensive background checks, ratio requirements, and visibility and supervision guidelines.

However, licensing agencies frequently establish minimal requirements.  For example, ratio requirements can ensure that there are enough caregivers in the classroom to provide adequate care for the children.  But, we also make sure that each classroom is always staffed with two caregivers, regardless of how many children are in attendance at any given time.  Those caregivers understand that one of their responsibilities is to ensure that no child is ever left alone with an adult.

Two important Policies and Procedures to help protect children are a Touch Policy and a Child Guidance Policy.  The Touch Policy should detail what are appropriate and inappropriate types of touch in a program.  The Child Guidance Policy should describe developmentally appropriate expectations and appropriate methods of guiding children’s behavior.

If you don’t already have a policy in place to make sure that your staff knows how to prevent child abuse, check ours out here.