Why This Is A Bad Idea
I received a phone call recently that got me thinking about the approved pick up list you utilize in your school. A client called and asked for my input when a parent wanted a minor child to be an approved pick up person for their 6-year-old daughter.
I did some research and learned quite a bit. Very few states have laws specifying how old someone must be to babysit. This leaves us in legal limbo when trying to decide if the minor can be on the pick up list. Since legal limbo is uncomfortable, I did a lot more digging and I discovered that even in those states that don't have laws specifying the required age of a babysitter, most of them do have settled court cases tht make the parent or guardian responsible when a child is left with someone under the age of 16 (in some states 18).
As a care provider, you fall within the role of guardian during the hours the child is with you. So, when you release a child, at that moment in time, you are the guardian. If you release the child to someone under the age of 16 (or 18) you are still legally liable for hat happens to that child.
As I hought more about this, I realized the trouble does not exist solely within the walls of your school. If you drive children home, are you personally delivering the child to someone on the approved pick up list? Are you getting a signature indicating the shift in responsibility for th child? Do you have documentation that the person taking custody of the child is over 16 or 18?
If you answered no to any of these questions you have a liability problem.
Within the past two years there have been hundres of cases across the nation of babysitters aged 10 and up hitting children, shaking them, falling asleep and leaving children unsupervised...If you allow the children in your school to be released to one of these children you remain responsible.
In order to avoid this conversation with parents it is a good idea to include in your parent handbook your policy regarding qualifications of individuals to be on the authorized pick up list. Apply the policy consistently to all enrolled families and you avoid the problem down the road.
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