Advancements in Child Care Center Security

Child care facilities have become an everyday part of an average young family’s lives. This is especially true when both parents find it necessary to work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor, in 2016, there were 3.1 million married-couple families and in 48 percent of them, both parents were working (http://bit.ly/2pUR8hJ). Obviously there’s a huge need for child care.

Fotolia_88057372_S.jpgWhether the physical community is large or small, there’s bound to be at least one child care center that serves the needs of working families. The bottom line for these parents is simple, they expect the Center to take appropriate steps to .keep their children safe and secure. The last thing that a parent wants is to receive a phone call informing them that their child has been injured, or worse.

In order to assure the appropriate safety and security of the children who use these child care centers it’s necessary for the licensed child care center operator to review the potential threats to which their young charges may be subjected to.

For example, A 19-year-old daycare worker was charged in the abduction of a 5-year-old girl who was taken from her school last month. Authorities said the arrest happened after the girl aided police in locating the home where she was taken (CBSNews.com). The victim was removed from class by a female posing as the girl’s mother. The abduction was made possible because the kidnapper wore traditional muslim clothing, which was in line with what the mother wears.

The Need for Security Precautions in Child Care Centers

Clearly the potential threats to which these children may be exposed must be studied. This includes the child care center’s own workers as well as threats from outside the Center. This is why background checks are often required.

The state of Washington, for example, per section 170-295-0010--as part of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC)—says that ‘unsupervised access’ is defined as “those individuals at a child care center who can be left alone with children in the child care center. These individuals must have received a full background authorization clearance under chapter 170-06 WAC” (http://bit.ly/2qPe5TB). In other words, those who enter under the ‘unsupervised’ classification under WAC can be trusted with a Center’s young charges.

The opposite of ‘unsupervised’ is ‘supervised,’ which essentially pertains to those who routinely come and go from a child care center as a matter of course in the execution of their work. One example is an outside cleaning service. In this case, WAC defines ‘supervised access’ as “those individuals at a child care center who have no responsibility for the operation of the Center and do not have unsupervised access to children. These individuals are not required to submit a background check form. This includes those persons on the premises for ‘time limited’ activities whose presence is supervised by a Center employee and does not affect provider/child ratios or the normal activities or routine of the Center.”

The Need for Other Forms of Electronic Protection

Background checks are not the only thing that day care center operators must consider. The WAC, for example, provides definite guidelines as to the type of record keeping and access control systems that must be used when opening a new child care center. To learn more about these and other requirements assigned by the State of Washington, refer to section 170-295-7032, entitled Electronic attendance records—Records retention. Go to: http://bit.ly/2pQbwC5 for more information.

Record keeping is necessary where it comes to those who entrust their children to a child day care center for a number of reasons. One possible purpose is tracking parents as they drop off and pick up their children. Another use for electronic accounting involves the need to create and maintain an audit trail where managers can obtain an accurate accounting of all children and the Center’s employees. One reason why this is important is in case of a fire. It is important to know if everyone made it outside to the groups predetermined meeting place.

These record keeping systems are now included within the job description and specifications of today’s ordinary access control system.   

Video surveillance is another tool that Centers commonly used to protect the children and to provide the means where parents can look in on their children. Just the mere over the presence of a camera can be enough for any crook to look for another victim. 

Editor’s Note: Allied Fire & Security is a staunch supporter of tough laws that address child abuse, combined with a core regiment of safety and security technologies. For this reason, Allied Fire and Security has underwritten this white paper on the different security precautions available to child care center operators. The objective of this white paper is to provide insights into typical security safety considerations as they apply to modern day child care centers. 

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