Authorized Persons for Picking Up
Topic 5 Page 22
Appropriate procedures for identifying who is authorized to pick up a child is critical to avoid a missing child crises. Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of persons authorized to take a child under care out of the facility must be maintained. The facility must establish a mechanism for identifying a person for whom the parents have given the facility prior written authorization to pick up their child. Also, policies must address how the early childhood program will handle the situation if a parent arrives who is intoxicated or otherwise incapable of bringing the child home safely, or if a non-custodial parent attempts to claim the child without the consent of the custodial parent.
Educators must not be unwitting accomplices in schemes to gain custody of children by accepting a telephone authorization provided falsely by a person claiming to be the child's custodial parent or claiming to be authorized by the parent to pick up the child.
When a parent wants to authorize additional persons to pick up their child, documentation of this request should be kept in the child's file. The early childhood program can use photo identification (photographs supplied by the parents or taken with a camera by the facility) as a system for verifying the identification of a new person to whom the parents have given written authorization to pick up their child.
Early childhood professionals should not attempt to handle on their own an unstable (for example, intoxicated) parent who wants to be admitted but whose behavior poses a risk to the children. Educators should consult local police or the local child protection agency about their recommendations for how staff can obtain support from law enforcement authorities to avoid incurring increased liability by releasing a child into an unsafe situation or by improperly refusing to release a child.
No Authorized Person Picks Up Child
Child care facilities must have a written policy identifying actions to be taken when no authorized person arrives to pick up a child. The plan must be developed in consultation with the child care health consultant and child protective services.
In the event of emergency situations arising that may make it impossible for a parent to pick up a child as scheduled or to notify the authorized contact to do so, the facility must attempt to reach each authorized contact, as listed in the facility's records. If these efforts fail, the facility must immediately implement the written policy on actions to be followed when no authorized person arrives to pick up a child. A natural disaster or tragic event such as a car crash or terrorist attack may lead to the parent being hurt or delayed due to transportation problems related to the event.