Child Care Center Operators
Children’s Personal Rights in Child Care
Produced by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services
Bye bye. See daddy later. Bye bye.
[Outside, a dad says goodbye to his daughter. Another child sees him leave and becomes distressed.]
That makes you sad. Can I give you a hug, sweetie?
[The child walks to the teacher for a hug.]
I like Russ a lot, too. He’s a lot of fun. And we’ll see Russ later when he comes to get Amber. Would you like to do some more bubbles with us?
In California, children have personal rights all their own when they are in licensed childcare. [Onscreen, series host.] Childcare providers must know, understand, and protect these personal rights.
[Two licensing representatives speak.]
Community Care Licensing Representative 1:
Your commitment to children’s personal rights is an important part of promoting the emotional and physical well-being of the children in your care.
Community Care Licensing Representative 2:
All adults working in childcare, whether staff members or volunteers, must protect these rights according to state laws and regulations.
CCL Rep 1:
Violating children’s personal rights in any way is an immediate health and safety risk, and requires immediate corrective action. In addition, a civil penalty may be assessed.
[The host speaks, and the questions she asks are displayed on a white board.]
What are children’s personal rights in childcare? Please be sure to review the full list of personal rights on the Community Care Licensing website.
[The host speaks as the corresponding content is displayed onscreen.]
- Children have the right not to be spanked, slapped, or physically hurt for any reason whatsoever.
- Children’s sleep should not be interrupted, and they should not be kept from the use of the bathroom.
- Food cannot be withheld from children in order to discipline them.
- Children have the right to be free of mental abuse, such as coercion, intimidation, humiliation, ridicule, or threats. These are not allowed.
- Children can’t be locked in a room or building.
However, facilities may keep exterior doors and windows locked as long as they remain in compliance with local fire codes for a large family home or center.
- Children cannot be placed or restrained in any device if it’s not being used for its original purpose. For example, high chairs are for use only during meal time. Car seats are used only for transportation.
- Children can never be left alone in a car, including when they’ve fallen asleep in the vehicle.
- And you can never deny children prescribed medication or, if the situation arises, first aid or medical care.
These personal rights must be upheld by everyone working, volunteering, or having any contact with the children in a licensed childcare facility. As the licensee, you are responsible for ensuring that all adults understand and protect these personal rights.
What if a parent or family member requests actions that conflict with children’s rights?
Parents or family members may request that you treat their children in a way that is inconsistent with personal rights guaranteed to children in childcare. Perhaps a parent wants you to wash their child’s mouth out with soap, or withhold food if the child uses inappropriate language. You need to remind parents of the personal rights form they received when they enrolled their child in care.
[The corresponding form briefly appears.]
If needed, you can also review your facility’s discipline and guidance policy. Most importantly, work with families to address their concerns, while upholding each child’s personal rights.
How can I learn more about protecting children’s rights in childcare?
The licensing program analyst assigned to your facility can address questions you have about protecting children’s rights. In addition, the childcare resource and referral agency in your community may offer training on personal rights. This training can be made available to all adults working or volunteering in your facility.
Here are key points about children’s personal rights to keep in mind. As a childcare provider, you’re responsible for the emotional and physical well-being of the children in your care. Any violation of a child’s personal rights is considered an immediate health and safety risk, and can lead to further corrective action. In carrying out this responsibility, you need to ensure that all adults in your facility, including family members and volunteers, understand and protect the personal rights of children.
State of California