Administrative, Policy and Legal Issues by li29329

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									Administrative, Policy and Legal Issues

•   Organizational Structure
•   Making Operating Decisions
•   Suggested Outline for Handbooks
•   Licensing

Organizational Structure

Every program has an organizational structure, whether it has been carefully drawn up in
writing or simply evolved over the course of many months. A good administrative
structure sets up clear lines of accountability and authority between partners. It is best to
commit both the formal and informal aspects of this structure to paper, as soon and as
clearly as possible. Agreements and/or contracts, reviewed by Club legal counsel, should
be well-developed, ensuring that everyone involved knows who is responsible for what.
It is also important that these documents be updated and reviewed periodically, to ensure
they reflect current Club, school and after-school program practices.

In the organizational structure of your program, the roles and responsibilities of each
partner, board, staff and task forces or committees should be clearly understood. For
example:

       Board of Directors: The Club board should be involved in policy decisions,
       long-range planning and resource development. Board members should be
       involved in deciding the philosophy of the program and who it is designed to
       serve.

       Staff: The Club director and appropriate program staff are responsible for the
       regular operation of the program, supervision of staff and the development and
       implementation of day-to-day procedures.

       Advisory Committee and Task Force: These groups, often made up of parents
       and experts in child development, can be extremely helpful in an advisory
       capacity. They may provide input on hours of operation, program needs, health
       issues, etc. They do not make policy, develop procedures or participate in the
       day-to-day management of the program.
Drawing Up A Letter of Agreement

When negotiations between the Boys & Girls Club and the school system are complete,
prepare a letter of agreement (or contract) specifying the extent of facility use, the
services to be provided by both parties, and the responsibilities of each. A sample facility
agreement is included in Appendix B.



Making Operating Decisions

Many operating decisions must be made before the program begins. These bottom line
courses of action must be given careful thought. Among the areas requiring operating
decisions are:

       •       enrollment procedures
       •       hours of operation
       •       transportation
       •       food
       •       behavior management/discipline
       •       health and safety
       •       medication
       •       record keeping
       •       payment of fees

Every program's procedures will be unique, in response to the individual program
philosophy, the design of child care services, and the nature of the surrounding
community. Some operating procedures will be guided or determined by external
sources. For example, most states have school-age child care regulations regarding the
information and records to be kept for each child, access to these records and the length
of time such records must be kept on file.

In general, all procedures should insure the safety and well-being of the children and
families that attend your program. Collectively, operating procedures help staff and
employees to understand the general practices, decision-making process and ethics
supported by the program. As such, they serve as protocol to help guide staff when they
may need to make decisions about a situation not yet covered by a specified procedure.

When designing operating procedures, be certain to examine and adhere to state and
licensing requirements. For example, transportation procedures should specify the type
and class of license required to transport children as required by the registry of motor
vehicles in that state; the procedures will also adhere to state laws requiring use of child
restraints for the after-school group in your care. Solid transportation procedures also
address the number of children that can be transported per staff member. Transportation
procedures will also insure that supervision is arranged for at both the drop-off and pick-
up end of each transport. In addition, back-up arrangements, emergency contacts and
telephone numbers will be readily available in case of emergency.

In a similar fashion, you will want procedures on snack or food preparation to insure that
the foods given are nutritionally appropriate, sufficient in amount and palatably varied.
All programs should have discipline practices (which prohibit corporal punishment and
humiliation) in writing. Likewise, it is important that programs set procedures for
referral of at-risk children to supportive social service agencies and, if need be, for the
process of termination from the program.

As noted above, procedures should address potentially difficult situations that might be
encountered. For instance, programs will want to have in writing protective procedures
for preventing the release of a child for transport to a parent, guardian or other suspected
of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Procedures on reporting child abuse and
neglect should be developed, including a process for dealing with potential abuse by a
staff member. Refer to local licensing requirements and children's information and
referral agencies for assistance in developing such policies.

Many of these procedures will already have been developed by the Club and may only
need slight alterations to work for your after-school program. All staff and board
personnel should have written copies of these procedures, along with an orientation and
update training periodically. In addition to written procedures for staff, parents should
have a handbook outlining program policies and procedures.

The following are some tips for establishing operating procedures:

       •       Consult state school-age child care regulations.
       •       Set the rules up as early as possible.
       •       Keep the policies very broad and simple.
       •       Be sure the procedures are uniform and created only to solve problems or
               avoid situations that could be complicated or troublesome.
       •       Create policies and procedures that have a life of their own, and are not
               arbitrarily decided by individual discretion.
       •       Ensure that the reasons for the policies and procedures are valid and
               justified.
       •       Adhere firmly and consistently to the policies and procedures once they
               have been created and adopted.
       •       Make exceptions only when the reasons are sound and defensible.
       •       Develop a flexible mechanism for changing policies and procedures.

Policy decision should be formally voted upon and adopted by the board. Setting the
procedures and rules is the next step. To be followed, policies and procedures must be
disseminated to those whose cooperation is needed: staff, parents and children. A parent
handbook and a manual of operating procedures are important tools for making sure that
once decided, policies and procedures really work.
Suggested Outline for Handbooks

Operating Procedures Handbook for staff should include:

a.     program description
b.     organizational chart
c.     philosophy and services provided
d.     licensing
e.     sources of funding
f.     purpose of the manual, including procedures for revision
g.     health and safety
h.     admissions policy and procedures
i.     service delivery
j.     transportation
k.     discipline


Parent Handbook should include (see Appendix B for a sample Parent Handbook):

a.     program philosophy
b.     description of services and general policies
c.     hours and type of service
d.     release of children
e.     enrollment procedures
f.     discipline
g.     meals and snacks
h.     financial issues/payment procedures
i.     parent roles and responsibilities
j.     volunteer involvement
k.     clothes, food, etc.
l.     health and safety
m.     snow days
n.     vacation and long days
o.     staff and board
p.     calendar


Licensing

In most states, school-age child care programs are required to obtain licenses and
building inspection certificates to insure minimum standards for the care and safety of
children in regulated programs. The agencies responsible for licensing procedures vary
from state to state. Some come under the auspices of the departments of youth or
children; some are governed by the departments of health and welfare; others by state
offices of education or licensing.
Most licensing requirements cover a wide range of health, safety, program operations,
staffing, administration, supervision and developmental guidelines, practices and policies
related to the professional care, development and supervision of young children. They
are designed to guarantee that a minimum of safety and caretaking needs are met for
children and families utilizing licensed child care programs.

In many states, operators and caregivers are required by regulations to undergo a criminal
record check and child abuse clearance prior to contact with children. Most states require
minimum building and fire code regulations, although in certain states programs
operating in public school buildings are either fully or partially exempt from certain
licensing regulations and building code requirements. The variations in licensing and
code requirements vary dramatically from state to state. Therefore, it is imperative that
you examine your own state and/or county licensing regulations to insure that your Boys
& Girls Club after-school program is in compliance with all such regulations.

								
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