Pick Up Policy

As a day care center provider you need to have a very clear 'pick up policy'. After all, in these days of child custody disputes and child abductions you don't want you or your staff to inadvertently hand over a child to the wrong person.

Sign In/Sign Out Register

Many daycare centers require that parents or other people responsible for a child, like a nanny or housekeeper, sign an attendance register when dropping off a child at daycare as well as when they pick up the child. If the child is absent without you being informed in advance it's a good idea to check with the parent or child's caretaker that the child is supposed to be absent. This safeguards the daycare center as well as the child. This is especially important where the parents are separated or divorced.

Separated Or Divorced Parents

In this situation you can't necessarily hand over the child at pick up time to the parent who brought the child to day care. Very often separated and divorced parents have complicated child care and custody agreements. Unfortunately they don't necessarily inform the daycare center of any changes to regular arrangements. For example, one parent may usually have the child the first part of the week, and the other the second half. In any particular week however they may decide to change things around because of other circumstances, like a family get together or a work commitment. You need to make sure you coordinate well with both parents to ensure that you don't upset one or the other by unwittingly handing the child over to the 'wrong parent' on the 'wrong day.'

Even in a two parent household another family member like a visiting aunt or grandmother may come to pick up the child. Of course the considerate parent will let you know in advance to expect someone else, but sometimes emergencies occur and another person may have to come to pick up the child.

Register Of Approved People

Keep a register of approved alternative people who are permitted to pick up each child. Even with such a register you will still need to ask for proof of identity from the substitute pickup person just to safeguard yourself, unless you or your staff know the person well. However it is still a good idea to check with the parent that the substitute is to pick up the child that day. This is especially important in child custody dispute situations. One way of protecting yourself, the child and the parents is to ask substitute pick up people for a password before handing over the child to them.

Late Pick Up

To make sure that children are picked up on time many day care centers fine parents who pick up children later than the agreed time. Some day care providers will even exclude a child if the parents are consistently late picking up. If a parent is unavoidably delayed they need to arrange for an emergency approved person to come and pick up the child.

Emergency Pick Up

Being able to contact a parent or approved substitute quickly in an emergency situation is essential. So make sure that you have emergency telephone numbers of all your parents, and ensure that they have your emergency number as well so that they can contact you in a hurry if necessary.

Remember the clearer your pick-up policy the better. That way your staff and the parents will know where they stand, and it will help to keep the children in your care safe and secure.