An estimated 8.4 million children under the age of 5 need child care in the United States. Proper child care management requires the use of certain child care procedures and policies in place to ensure the safety of all involved.
Compliance is the ultimate goal of using child care policies and procedures. That's why you have taken the time to construct reliable manuals and make them readily available to your employees.
While creating strong policies is a great start, you want your team to both understand and adhere to the guidelines you have put in place. After all, your policies exist to ensure the safety and success of your employees and those with whom they work. Ideally, your employees will be able to perform and comply without close supervision.
Non-compliance in the workplace can be a major issue, jeopardizing both your center's professionalism and safety. Non-compliant behavior can lead to health and safety risks, HR struggles, and government fines. In some cases, it can also be grounds for termination.
To find out more about enforcing child care policies and procedures, keep reading below for further information.
Make Sure Your Child Care Policies and Procedures Are Easy to Understand
When utilizing child care policies and procedures, you need to follow certain criteria. This will help you make the most effective use of your policies and procedures for your team. It will also ensure nothing is left to chance.
Communication Is the First Step to Compliance
Don't just assume that your employees know and understand your policies perfectly by heart. 86% of employees identify a lack of communication as a leading cause of failure in the workplace.
If they aren't following these policies to a tee, you should take them aside privately and go over them again. Ask them if they have any questions about the policies and the procedures or if there is something they don't understand.
Your employees are human, after all. They are bound to make mistakes or have misunderstandings from time to time. Having a refresher session on these procedures and policies will also help reduce the number of mistakes.
Communicating these policies and procedures regularly will help to enforce them in your child care center. Having open communication is key to creating the best possible child care center for children, parents, and employees alike.
Write Policies and Procedures That Are Precise and Clear
Writing up your child care policies and procedures properly is also important. Don't use big words or too much legal jargon. This could make your policies difficult to understand.
Use plain English so that your child care policies and procedures are clear and easy to understand. Keep your policies informational and detailed to maintain their precision.
Optimize Your Documents
You should also make sure that your child care policies and procedures are easy to read, especially if your employees need to scan through them quickly.
Use bullet points to break down central points and break up large sections of text. Emphasize certain words or phrases in bold print and underline them. Use online writing tools like Grammarly to fine-tune your policy and procedure documents.
Make it Easy to Access Your Documentation
Each employee should be given a personal copy of these procedures for reference as needed. You must also post these child care policies and procedures up around the center.
A dedicated notebook or manual located in a central part of the child care center containing the child care procedures and policies is also helpful to have in case employees may need to consult it.
Train Your Employees on Compliance Issues
Employees must follow the necessary child care procedures at all times such as mandated reporting. Make sure they receive the proper child care training for medical and first aid care.
Any health and safety requirements required are vital information to impart to your employees. Depending on your area, emergency protocols like fire, earthquake, hurricane, or tornado safety procedures must also be put into place.
Notify Staff When Policies and Procedures Change
You must keep your employees in the loop. If any child care policies and procedures are changed or new ones are added, always inform employees as soon as possible. Inform employees of current or new policies through a monthly newsletter.
Hand out a new printout of these policies and update any other copies around the center or through an online portal. Have your employees sign the new copy to verify they have received it and understand these changes.
Seek Honest Feedback
You want your child care center to be the most efficient and safe environment possible. But you don't want it to come off as a dictatorship.
That's where requesting feedback from your employees comes into play. Employees who feel heard will be 4.6 times more likely to give their best at work. Ask your employees what they feel works best and what could use some improvement.
If there is anything they feel is an unreasonable or unfair policy, they should be able to speak their mind without fear of repercussions. Use this feedback to further amend your child care policies and procedures as needed.
Be Consistent in How You Respond to Non-Compliance
You want to ensure you have the most competent and reliable employees, but mistakes can happen. You may have a warning for the first time your child care policies and procedures aren't followed appropriately before you may begin invoking suspensions or terminations.
But you can't let one person off the hook consistently or show favoritism. It must be a consistent child care policy enforcement plan for all employees involved. A lack of consistency makes employees believe your child care policies and procedures aren't as important as you make them seem.
Lead by Example
As the child care center manager, you set the precedent for how things should be done. Your employees will look to you for guidance and proper management. You must always set a positive example of how to follow the child care policies and procedures you've enacted.
5 Powerful Steps to Ensure Compliance
To keep your child care center the very best it can be, proper child care policy enforcement must be done. You must also engage in 5 steps that will maintain your center's compliance as listed below.
1. Involve Specialists (Workplace Stakeholders and External Experts)
Transparency is crucial in your child care center. You need a fresh set of eyes to help you evaluate the inner workings.
That's why you must hire outside specialists. They can verify that everything is running smoothly in accordance with the law.
This also allows you and your employees to seek out advice when needed. This way, you can ensure your child care policies and procedures are always compliant.
2. Ensure Employees Follow Procedures
Always communicate your child care policies and procedures to your employees. If your policies have changed, explain to them the reasons why this happened.
Establish a reward and penalty system and clearly explain details the of both. Give rewards for those who follow the procedures accordingly and issue. penalties for those who don't. The reward and penalty system is necessary for enforcing child care policies and procedures
3. In-Person Training
In-person employee training is essential for maintaining compliance. Even if an employee has worked for you for a while, you may need to have further in-person training. This is especially helpful if you've needed to alter or adapt your child care policies and procedures again.
4. Schedule Regular Internal Audits
Conducting regular internal audits can help you discover any ineffective child care procedures that can lead to non-compliance. A child care center's internal audit focuses on areas like operational, financial, or regulatory aspects.
Select an independent auditor when reviewing compliance for the most effective and unbiased audit possible.
5. Use the Right Software
Using the right software tools will make child care policy enforcement much easier. Built-in features allow you to view licensing and compliance requirements. Updating your child care procedures is quick and simple.
You will be able to generate reports that follow the necessary state and government child care policies and procedures. Your employees can also easily log into a central portal to view these policies and procedures at any time.
Having the Right Child Care Management Software Matters
Comprehensive compliance software from Early Learning Ventures will help your child care center operate in accordance with the law. It also reduces the risk of human errors. You can also get help with the proper child care licensing and compliance protocols.
Early Learning Ventures' compliance software has built-in tools for organizing documents. It automatically generates audit trails to easily help you track and prove your center's compliance.
You can schedule a demo of Early Learning Ventures' Child Care Management Software today.
Are you looking for more child care management information? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Child Care Management.
Our child care management system makes running your child care program simple and efficient. Get back to what's most important. You shouldn't have to spend more time on the administrative tasks than you do with children and staff.
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Do you run an early childhood association made up of child care providers? If so, check out our Ultimate Guide to Shared Service Alliance.
Header image courtesy of Jumpstory.