Childcare facilities should not relax standards during employee shortageOctober 19, 20212 min read
The U.S. childcare industry is experiencing an unparalleled workforce shortage, with more than 126,000 open positions across the country. Meanwhile, many parents are struggling to find available and safe options for their little ones as they continue to work from home.
As childcare providers work diligently to meet growing demand, it’s important they don’t relax their standards when hiring and onboarding new workers. Guy Russ, assistant vice president – Risk Control at Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I.1 can discuss key risk factors organizations need to be mindful of to protect children, parents and themselves. Church Mutual provides risk control advice to childcare organizations nationwide and has 125 years of experience in the risk-management industry. Guy has expertise in several topics, including:
1. Staff – It’s critical to perform extensive screening on all employees and volunteers before allowing them to work with children. It’s also important to offer year-round training and refreshers to keep staff current on federal and state childcare regulations, such as CPR and first-aid certification.
2. Sexual abuse prevention – Conduct a criminal background check, reference check and interviews, and be sure to verify previous work. There are many resources available to help you create a safe environment for kids.
3. Buildings and grounds – General maintenance and protection: Don’t overlook electrical, backup power sources, heating and refrigeration, and be sure to check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. And don’t forget to inspect vehicles.
4. Activities – Afterschool fun, field trips, sports can lead to incidents. Remember little hands and wandering curiosity can lead to unexpected outcomes, so be sure you’re prepared.
5. Planning – Be prepared. Develop a comprehensive business plan addressing safety, staffing, crisis protocols, etc. and revisit it at least annually. Be sure emergency contact lists are current.
6. COVID-19 – Make sure you clearly communicate with staff and participating families about the precautions you’re taking and update your policies and procedures accordingly.
1Church Mutual is a stock insurer whose policyholders are members of the parent mutual holding company formed on 1/1/20. S.I. = a stock insurer.
Guy A. Russ Assistant Vice President — Risk Control
Guy can speak to impacts on houses of worship during COVID, armed intruder prevention, cyber risks & sexual abuse prevention.