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    Best Practices for Operating Campus Child Care Centers

    Many educational institutions operate day care centers for the children of faculty, staff, or students. Although the centers provide significant benefits, they also generate liability risks. To minimize risks, centers must follow  state licensure regulations and follow detailed  guidelines developed by experts in the field. In addition, the following best practices will help institutions develop policies and actions to protect a vulnerable population: 

    • Facility design, maintenance, and safety. Consider using the design  guide developed for day care centers in federal buildings. Include the center in the annual facilities audit and inspect playgrounds monthly. Establish procedures for these practices and for timely completion of maintenance issues. Collaborate with sanitation services to develop procedures for cleaning toys and equipment, food preparation and service areas, and changing areas; ensure care providers are properly trained on sanitary techniques. Restrict center access to authorized individuals and require visitors to sign in and out and to be supervised at all times.
    • Staff and supervision. The  National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies recommends conducting comprehensive screening on center employees and volunteers—such as interns—and requiring paid care providers to obtain state licenses. Conduct regular training for employees and volunteers on age-appropriate activities, positive discipline, proper boundaries, and reporting suspected abuse as required by state law. Follow staffing ratios and room capacity guidelines recommended by the  American Academy of Pediatrics. Consider ways to eliminate secluded areas where bullying and abuse could occur, and never allow children to be alone with any adult.
    • Operations. Develop procedures for admissions, accommodations, and emergency response based on the children’s ages and special needs. Emergency plans should detail response procedures for crises, sick or injured children, and flu containment and include an emergency closure policy. Address medication administration, temporary exclusion of sick children, and communicable disease reporting requirements in a health plan, and make it available to parents. Require immunization records and a health clearance for annual enrollment, and require parents to sign an  authorization for emergency care. Train employees on prompt parental notification of incidents. In addition, establish procedures for sign-in/sign-out authorization, field trips and transportation, and back-up child care. Campuses that lease facilities to third-party child care providers should consult with state agencies regarding their landlord responsibilities, and allocate inspection and maintenance responsibilities in the lease.”


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