Detailed Information for Enrolled Families

Notes on Parent Involvement

Parent involvement in the centre is welcome and encouraged. If you would like to be more involved or have special skills you can share with the children, please inform the staff.

Parents are asked to volunteer for jobs that need to be completed from time to time and spring/fall work parties. Parents are required to attend parent meetings. These include the Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Parent Potluck Dinner, and any other meetings deemed necessary. Please see “News and Events” for upcoming items.

Acorn Daycare Society operates with a parent and volunteer board . Board members are covered by Director’s Liability Insurance. If a position on the board becomes available and needs filling, parents may be required to take on a year term, as the Centre cannot function without the board.

Gradual Entry

Starting daycare is an important event in your child's life. For some children, this will be their first large group experience away from home and as such can be a very frightening, over-whelming experience.

Children may wonder: "why am I being brought here? Will the children play with me? Will the grown ups be nice to me? Will they feed me if I am hungry? Is there a place for me to go to the bathroom? (and most important) will mommy or daddy ever come back? It is natural for children to have these concerns even though they may not be able to express them in words.

Even for children with large group experience, a new daycare can be frightening. Change itself, a new environment, new children, new adults, new routines can confuse and disturb a child.

It is our feeling that a slow, carefully planned entry into the centre minimizes the negative, frightening aspects of beginning daycare and maximizes the chances for a good positive learning experience for your child.

Consequently we have adopted the following entry schedule for all children:

  • Step One: Parent(s) and child spend a couple of hours at the centre together (9:00 - 11:00).
  • Step Two: Parent stays with their child for twenty minutes to one half hour; then leaves the child alone in the centre until after lunch (half day).
  • Step Three: Child stays at centre the full day without his/her parent, and is picked up shortly after rest time.

It is impossible to tell how any individual child will react to a new centre, and so we cannot, without knowing you and your child, set a definite timetable for the entry process. Although the gradual entry may seem inconvenient and troublesome for you, in the long run it is truly beneficial to both you and your child.

If it absolutely impossible for the parent(s) to follow through with the gradual entry, arrangements may be made for a relative or close and familiar friend to act as a substitute. Under no circumstances can a child be accepted into the centre without first going through this program of gradual entry.

Child Pick up and Access

Arrivals and Departures

On arrival, each child must be signed in by the parent and delivered directly to a staff person. The parent / guardian is requested to phone the centre by 9:00 AM if their child will not be attending on that day, or if their child will be arriving at a later time than usual.

Upon departure, the parent must sign out the child, and his/her leaving brought to the attention of a staff person.

A child under no circumstances will be released to a person other than a parent unless:

  • That person’s name appears on the registration form, or
  • Identification is shown, if the person picking up the child is unknown to a staff person on duty, and the staff have been notified by the parent / guardian

No child is to be picked up later than 5:30 p.m., without contact from the parent, the following procedure will be used:

  • The supervisor will attempt to contact the parent(s) at home and at work.
  • If unsuccessful, the supervisor will attempt to contact the emergency contacts named on the registration form.
  • If the supervisor is unable to contact either the parent(s), or authorized pick up persons, or emergency contacts, and has not heard from the parent by 6:30 p.m., she will contact the Emergency Services Division of the Ministry for Children and Families. It is necessary for a Board member to be present when the child is handed over to MCF. After the child has been picked up, the supervisor will leave a message for the parent explaining what has happened, and listing the phone number for Emergency Services so the parent can phone them and learn what plan has been made for the care of the child. MCF’s emergency contact number is 660-4927.

A late fee of $10.00 for each 15 minutes or part thereof is charged after closing time up to 6:30 p.m. and is payable to the staff member who has stayed overtime. If the late fee is not paid at that time, the parent will be billed. If a parent is late more than once in a month, the charge will increase to $20.00 for each 15 minutes or part thereof.

Visitors at the Centre

As the safety and security of children, families and staff is critical, visitors need permission prior to visiting the centre. Community resources and immediate family members of children enrolled are welcome to visit, however, arrangements must be made in advance with the staff. Unauthorized visitors will be asked to leave the premises.

If an unwelcome visitor refuses to leave, police will be called to assist the staff.

Unauthorized Person

If an unauthorized person arrives to pick up a child, the child will remain under the supervision of the daycare staff. The staff member in charge will speak with this individual and explain the policy that no child will be released without written authorization from the enrolling family, delivered to the in person to the daycare staff by the child’s legal guardian.

In a rare emergency situation, verbal permission via the telephone will be allowed from the enrolling family as long as the parent/guardian confirms information about this person (name, address, telephone number, relationship to child, a brief description of physical features) and the pick-up person presents photo identification to verify the information to the satisfaction of the staff member.

Staff will document the time of the call and the information shared. Whenever difficulties exist, all reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the safety of the child, other children, and the staff. If necessary, the staff may need to call the police for assistance.

Pickup by an Allegedly Impaired Person

If an authorized person on the child’s pick up list arrives, and appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and this person appears to the staff member the he/she may not be able to adequately care for a child, the staff will follow the following procedure.

It is the staff’s legal responsibility to the extent that this is possible, not to release a child to an authorized person who is unable to adequately care for a child.

If a staff member believes that a child will be at risk, the staff person in charge will:

  • offer to call a relative or friend to pick up the person and child, or
  • contact the Ministry for Children and Families

If the person was driving a vehicle, the staff person will explain that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is against the law, and staff are obligated to ensure the safety and well being of the children and adult.

If the presumed impaired person chooses to get in the car with or without the child, staff will immediately notify police. The senior staff person will call the Ministry for Children and Families if they feel the child is in need of protection.

Legal Guardianship Issues

Acorn Daycare supports and promotes the concept of families as partners with staff members in the provision of care for their children. We recognize that relationships based on mutual trust and respect, enhance the provision of quality care.

Acorn Daycare will assume that the enrolling parent/guardian is responsible for ensuring that the daycare has been provided with accurate and current information regarding the legal guardianship of their child.

Unless there is a court order on file to the contrary, Acorn Daycare will assume that the biological parents of a child share joint guardianship and custody. The enrolling parent(s) will provide any consent. In any situation where it is unclear who has legal guardianship, Acorn Daycare may require written consent from both parents.

In specific situations, Acorn Daycare will allow consent forms to be signed by an adult who is not a child’s legal guardian.
This will only occur if the following conditions are met:

  • The child’s legal guardian has given blanket consent for another adult to make decisions on behalf of the child, and a record of this consent is in the child’s file.
  • The child’s legal guardian has given consent for another adult to make specific decisions on behalf of the child and a record of this consent is in the child’s file. In this case, only consent forms which are specifically identified may be signed.
  • Acorn Daycare reserves the right to verify any and all consents with the parent or guardian.
  • In cases of joint guardianship, both guardians must consent to this transfer of responsibility.

Procedures Regarding Child Custody and Access Agreements

If a child’s parents have agreed to live separately, Acorn Daycare will assume that the information from the enrolling parent will be followed. However, without a custody or court order on file at the daycare, Acorn Daycare cannot deny access to the non-enrolling parent.

If this arises, the policy on unauthorized persons will be implemented. If custody has not been legally determined and conflict between the parents/guardians and/or other is evident, Acorn Daycare may not be able to care for the child unless all parties sign a written agreement regarding authorization for pickup and access to information about the child. Verbal and written information will be shared with the enrolling parent(s)/guardian(s) unless otherwise agreed upon. Permission to share information with others will reflect the policy on confidentiality.

If a family has a custody or court order, a copy must be placed in the child’s file and details about all arrangements contained in the legal documents will be followed at all times.

It is up to the parent to obtain a restraining order against an offending parent if necessary (i.e., the parent causes disruption and distress to the children attending the Centre and appears to be unstable or violent). The staff can only call the police if they have an order. Staff will call the police if assistance is required to enforce a custody or court order.

Staff does not get involved in custody battles and are not qualified to interpret the law. Staff will appear at custody proceedings only when subpoenaed. Staff abides by the wishes of the custodial parent and will inform them of any discrepancies in the pick-up, drop-off, and visitation of the non-custodial parent. It is up to the custodial parent to take the responsibility from there and act on the information.

If a family’s custody arrangements cause undue stress on the Centre staff and children the offending parents may be asked to find other Daycare arrangements.

Daycare Closures

Holidays

We are closed:

  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Victoria Day
  • B.C. Day
  • Canada Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Dec. 24 through January 2nd
  • Family Day

Short-Term Closure

If the Centre must close early due to a health or safety problem, such as no heat or running water and inclement weather, parents will be notified to come and pick-up their children.

Long-Term Closure

The Centre will try to relocate if forced to close due to fire or flood. If we cannot find alternate temporary premises, parents are responsible for finding alternate care. The Centre will do all it can to help. All attempts will be made to stay in operation.

Policies and Procedures

HEALTH EMERGENCY PROCEDURE

In the event of serious injury or illness of your child, you will be telephoned at once. If necessary, your alternate contact person and/or family physician will be called. If it is an emergency, we will call an ambulance or a taxi (a teacher would accompany the child if child/staff ratio can be maintained). If it is necessary we will take your child to Children’s Hospital Emergency Department where you can meet us. Every effort would be made to keep the child comfortable and rested. Parents are required to sign a consent form to enable us to do this as well as payment of an ambulance or taxi.

Emergency Procedures

The Centre maintains a supply of emergency earthquake equipment, food and blankets for use in an emergency.

Emergencies requiring evacuation or closure of the Centre are:

    Fire, Flood, Earthquake, Chemical Spillage,Power Failure, Bomb Scare, Extreme Weather Conditions, Sickness of all staff members The children will be taken to Douglas Park Community Centre at West 20th Avenue and Heather, in an emergency requiring evacuation. Staff members will take emergency information so that parents or alternate emergency person can be contacted to come and pick up the children.

During evacuation, getting the children out of the Centre is the number one priority. Reporting the emergency is secondary.

In a City wide emergency and the building is deemed unsafe by the staff, the children will be taken to the home of our chairperson, Heather MacMillan, 56 West 18th Ave. A note will be visible on the inside window of the daycare door that will include the address.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality in this program applies to all verbal and written information about potential, enrolling, and previously enrolled children, families and staff. It also refers to information related to ‘in camera’ board discussions and decision.

All staff and Board members will be expected to fulfil their obligation to respect protection of privacy. Each individual will ensure that no private or personal information is revealed that may cause another individual harm.

No information will be released about a child and the enrolling parent/legal guardian, without first receiving written permission from the parent / guardian. This excludes the responsibility that service providers and others have as outlined in legislation about child protection and/or when information is subpoenaed by the court.

To ensure respect for confidentiality within the childcare program, all written information that is confidential will be stored in a secure place that is only accessible to those who need access to this information

.

Staff will talk about a child’s disability to other parents and children only after receiving permission to do so from the child’s parents/legal guardians. Staff will find out from the parents/legal guardians how they want their child’s disability discussed with other families. Staff may make suggestions as to appropriate ways of sharing information with children and adults.

Records and Reporting

The senior supervisor will ensure that staff keeps a file on each child. Parents have access to their child’s file and can request a meeting to discuss the ongoing progress of their child.

Procedures Regarding Child Abuse

As citizens of British Columbia, we are legally required to report by telephone to the local Ministry for Children and Families office of any situations which cause us to suspect that a child has been abused, neglected, or that his/her safety or well-being is endangered.

This duty to report is outlined in the 1980 Family and Child Services Act of British Columbia, Section 7, as follows:

Duty to report:

  • A person who has reasonable grounds to believe that a child is need of protection shall forthwith the circumstances to the superintendent or a person designated by the superintendent to receive such reports.
  • The duty under subsection (1) overrides a claim of confidentiality or privilege by a person following any occupation or profession, except a claim founded on a solicitor and client relationship.
  • No action lies against a person making a report under this section unless he makes it maliciously or without reasonable grounds for his belief.
  • A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence.

Parents please note: We are required by law to report suspected or disclosed abuse. Failure to report abuse can result in prosecution under the Family and Child Services Act. We are not permitted to contact the parent, unless specifically directed to do so by the Ministry for Children and Families or Police.

Reporting procedures are designed to protect the child. Our responsibility is to report suspicions, disclosures, not determine if abuse has occurred. It is the responsibility of the Ministry for Children and Families to investigate and decide if abuse has occurred. Our concern is the safety and well being of the child.

The board will be informed when the staff has had to make a report to the Ministry for Children and Families but confidentiality will be kept at all times. Names will not be released to the board.

Apprehension by the Ministry for Children and Families

The Child, Family, and Community Services Act defines when a child is in need of protection. Decisions related to when, how and where the Ministry for Children and Families may apprehend a child rest with the Ministry.

When a social worker from the Ministry and/or the police intends to apprehend a child at the daycare, the senior staff member on duty will be responsible for responding to the situation.

The staff member will require the social worker or police officer to show identification. The staff member will record the name and title of the person apprehending the child, the address and telephone number of the Ministry office involved, as well as the date and time of the apprehension. The staff member will then telephone the Ministry office to verify with the supervisor that the social worker has authorization to apprehend this child, prior to the child being removed from the daycare.

Communication Policy

Acorn staff believe in open, ongoing daily informal communication with families.

Parents are welcome to discuss their child's progress or discuss a concern regarding their child's care by arranging a meeting to talk to a staff member and/or the senior early childhood educator. This will allow staff to ensure privacy and to ensure that parents are given staff's full attention. Staff must maintain the licensed child to teacher ratio at all times in the playroom and are not available for lengthy discussions. Please give staff at least one day's notice to arrange for a longer meeting to ensure proper staff coverage.

Effective communication requires active listening, personal courtesy, honesty, sensitivity, responsiveness, and respect. Acorn Daycare expects this of both staff and parents during any exchange of information related to the daycare and the care staff provide. Please remember to be sensitive and respectful when speaking to staff in the children's presence.

Grievance Procedures

The following order of action should be taken by the parent in resolving a matter of concern to them:

  1. The parent should attempt resolution of the matter with the staff member, or if either party feels more comfortable, he or she may opt to go right to the senior supervisor for help in resolving the concern.
  2. The parent can make an appointment for an interview with the * senior supervisor.
  3. The parent can make an appointment for an interview with the Board.

*If a matter is immediate or urgent and can't be resolved by the senior supervisor and the concern affects the safety of the other children, the enrolled child to him/her self , the staff or the smooth operation of the centre a family could be asked to immediately have a cooling off period. This means that the child and family do not attend the centre until a meeting of the board has been arranged and the problem is being addressed and resolutions are being attempted to be found.

Termination of services

At Acorn Daycare, staff is committed to providing a caring and supportive environment for all children and families. However, termination of services may be required if:

  • Fees for service are not paid according to the financial policies in the parent agreement and suitable arrangements cannot be agreed upon
  • Family does not abide by expectations in the parent agreement and successful resolution of the differences is not achieved
  • Family member is disrespectful, verbally or physically harasses, threatens abuse or commits a violent act towards staff, child or other family involved in the program
  • The centre is unable to satisfactorily resolve problems of late pick up with the family
  • The child’s behaviour is severely disruptive or physically threatening to the well-being and safety of other children or staff and additional supports to accommodate the child are unavailable
  • In the case of a serious conflict or persistent conflicts when all reasonable attempts to solve problems have failed for the sake of the child, family, and staff the family will be asked to make alternate daycare arrangements.

Termination of services is a last resort measure. Before the centre determines they cannot continue to provide services to the child, steps will be taken to accommodate the child’s needs.

Such steps include:

  • A cooling off period where the child and family do not attend while the problem is being addressed and attempted to be resolved.
  • Working with the family to identify other more suitable program resources
  • Consulting with professional support resources such as a Consultant from Vancouver Supported Child Care Services Society
  • Requesting increased staffing through Vancouver Supported Child Care Services Society or MCF
  • Referring to appropriate services for staff training or intervention with the child and/or family

In the event that termination of services is required, the centre will support the family to access other programs and resources if possible, and if possible, the senior supervisor, to support a smooth exit from the program for the family involved, will devise an exit plan. Acorn Daycare recognizes that it is not always the right fit for some children and families.