Family Child Care Providers
Supervising Children in Family Child Care
Produced by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services
Family Child Care Provider:
Okay, let’s go play.
Series Host, Off-screen:
Supervision of children is the primary task of licensed family child care home providers.
[As the series host speaks off-screen, a provider and assistant supervise children playing outside.]
Families have entrusted their children to you for large portions of the day to care for their children and make sure their basic health and safety needs are met. There are specific licensing regulations that pertain to supervision in family child care homes. [Host on-screen.] In this video we’ll explain the regulations you need to know and follow.
[Three licensing representatives speak.]
Community Care Licensing Representative 1:
Here in California, over 313,000 children spend a portion of their week in licensed family child care homes.
Community Care Licensing Representative 2:
As a family child care provider, your ability to maintain visual supervision of all the children in your care is fundamental to preventing accidents, injuries, and missing children.
Community Care Licensing Representative 3:
Supervision of this sort requires special effort and attention, especially if your facility is operating at or near capacity. Lack of supervision is one of the major reasons for issuing citations in child care facilities.
CCL Rep 2:
Although it is critical that you know the regulations regarding your facility’s capacity and ratios, it is just as important that you understand that supervision is, above all, a commitment to always be alert to what is happening with the children in your care.
[The host speaks, and the questions she asks are displayed on a white board.]
How does Community Care Licensing define “supervision”?
[From the kitchen, a provider sees and responds to a young boy playing in another room. In another area visible from the kitchen, other children play.]
Provider: You have a red boat.
Supervising children in family child care means that you are responsible for observing and monitoring each child’s activities, and knowing where they are at all times. [Host, On-screen.] No matter the layout or design of your home, you must be able to monitor children in different rooms, as well as indoors and outdoors. Putting this definition into practice is essential. Lack of supervision is a primary factor in accidents and injuries that occur in family child care homes.
Is visual supervision required 100% of the time?
Many family child care providers work with children each day without the assistance of another adult.
[Onscreen, a provider retrieves food from the kitchen, and an opening in the wall lets her observe the children playing in the other room.]
For example, there are moments when you may need to step into the kitchen to warm a baby bottle, assist a child in the bathroom, or check on a toddler napping in the bedroom. For these reasons, supervision of children is not required to be 100% visual at all times. However, your facility has to be set up to ensure that the children are safe during those moments when you’re temporarily out of visual contact. Remember that children develop new skills as they grow. The child who was crawling yesterday may be walking today.
[Another provider plays with a young toddler.]
Your supervision must adapt to these changing circumstances.
What do I do about supervision if I need to be away during operating hours?
Family child care providers must be present in the home during operating hours. However, licensing employs an 80%/20% rule for coverage during temporary absences, such as doctor visits. This means that you must supervise the children at least 80% of the time they are in care each day. If needed, you may be absent a maximum of 20% of the time to attend appointments or meetings. During those limited times when you’re absent, there must be a qualified adult supervising the children. This person must be associated with the facility, have a criminal record clearance, as well as training in pediatric first aid and pediatric CPR.
In addition, make sure your substitute is fully aware of the children’s personal rights while in child care. And make sure your substitute knows where you keep emergency information and supplies. There is zero tolerance for the absence of supervision by the licensee or substitute. It is a serious violation, and may result in the assessment of civil penalties.
Supervision is a key responsibility of licensed family child care home providers. Let’s remember these important points:
- Licensed providers must be present in the home during operating hours.
- You are expected to supervise and monitor the children in your care at all times.
- It is understood that you may need to step into another room during the course of the day to perform various child care tasks.
- You may also be temporarily absent from your facility to attend appointments or errands.
- You may not be absent more than 20% of the time that children are in care each day.
- You must have a qualified substitute supervising the children while you are absent.
Following these licensing regulations will promote the health and safety of children in your licensed family child care home and minimize accidents and injuries, a goal that we all share.
State of California