Forms Childcare Providers Should Keep On File
Working as a childcare provider is a fun and rewarding career, but comes with more responsibilities than simply keeping kids safe and healthy. For caregivers who value their professional reputations, paperwork and proper documentation are an unavoidable responsibility.
To streamline the process of documenting incidents, maintaining client files and other clerical duties, many childcare providers find it more efficient to maintain template copies of the most commonly used forms. Keeping files current not only helps childcare providers to stay abreast of any changes or areas where extra attention may be required, but can also provide an added layer of legal protection in the event of a dispute, injury or negative incident.
Because state licensing requirements and childcare laws often differ from one state to the next, it’s imperative that childcare providers maintain the forms and files mandated by the applicable laws in their area. In addition to any legally-required forms, however, there are also some additional templates which should be kept on file at any childcare facility.
What Childcare Forms Do I Need?
If you’re in the process of establishing a new childcare business or are working to expand your current operations, collecting the relevant document templates should be one of your first steps. Before you begin accepting and enrolling new clients, it’s important to make sure you have the childcare forms you’ll need to build appropriate client files, and to address any incidents or accidents which may arise over the course of your business operations. In addition to any and all childcare forms required by law, childcare providers should make every effort to include these childcare forms in their master files.
- Enrollment Forms –
The first form parents should complete is an enrollment form, which can be attached to the childcare contract governing your daycare agreement. Enrollment forms should include the names and contact information of parents, along with emergency contacts and information about other parties authorized to drop off or pick up. Anyone who is not included on the list of authorized pick-ups should never be allowed to leave your facility with a child unless you’ve obtained express permission from his or her parents.
- Introduction Forms –
Children are always growing and changing, but an introduction form can give childcare providers an accurate view of where a particular child is developmentally at the time of enrollment.
- Medical Information – One of the most important documents in any child’s daycare file is a medical history form. This is where parents will disclose any allergies, explain chronic illnesses and list current medications. A medical information form should also include the contact information for the child’s primary care physician, and records of immunization.
- Medical Consent Form –
In the event of an emergency, childcare providers need to be authorized to obtain emergency treatment for all the children under their care. Emergency medical consent forms should include the relevant insurance information, a preferred treatment center and a thorough list of any and all medications a child is currently taking. Allergy information should also be included on this form, especially if there are known allergies to certain medications.
- Medication Authorization Form –
A childcare provider’s job is to protect the children under their care, but they must also be prepared to protect themselves. Administering even mild, over-the-counter medication can lead to legal trouble if permission to do so has not been previously granted. There should be space on this form for parents to specify any brands or types of medication which should not be used to treat their child, including diaper rash creams, sunscreens and first-aid ointments.
- Accidents and Injury Reports –
Despite the best efforts of a dedicated childcare provider, accidents can, and often do, happen. Even minor incidents and injuries should be thoroughly documented with an incident report, detailing the action taken in response to the incident, the type of injury sustained and an explanation of the events. These forms should also be given to parents at the time of pick-up to inform them of incidents or injuries in which their child was involved.
- Field Trip Permission Forms –
Unless a childcare provider has a strict rule forbidding outings and field trips, it’s always wise to have a sample permission form on file. These forms should explicitly authorize the childcare provider or daycare administrator to transport children to a location off the premises for a specified duration, and provide space for parents to note any restrictions on such trips.