Writing a Group Policy
Policies are written statements detailing what you believe and how you will operate your child care business. Whether you plan to build off our Group Policy Template or write your own from scratch, we can help you get started.
What is a Policy?
Your policy document will guide the day-to-day operations of your child care center. It is a place for you to explain the basic principles and ideology of your child care program. That’s why, when writing your policy, it is critical you take time to carefully think through and research the important issues you want to address, then put them in writing and make a plan for how they will be implemented in the day-to-day.
These handbooks summarize important information for parents and staff, whereas policies are much more in-depth documents.
What Should A Policy Include?
The decisions you will make as you develop your policy will relate directly to your budget and your ability to succeed in the child care business. You need to have fee policies that will make it clear to parents how you charge for services, how they need to pay, when they need to pay, and exactly what will happen if they do not pay. You need to make it clear to staff what they will and will not be paid for, what benefits you offer, and how you will manage other working conditions. Policy decisions need to be made before you can fine-tune an operating budget.
Required Policy Items:
- Admission: Describes the procedure parents go through to enroll their children
- Discharge of Enrolled Children: Tells parents what to do when they intend to withdraw their child, and explains why and how the center might terminate an enrollment
- Fee Payment and Refund
- Child Education: Explains what the children will be doing all day in your program and why they are doing these particular activities
- Child Guidance: Describes to staff and families your philosophy of guiding children’s behavior and the prohibited forms of punishment
- Emergency Plans: Describes procedures for all potential emergencies and staff responsibilities
- Health Care: Defines procedures for ensuring a healthy and safe child care operation. These policies relate directly to regulations
- Mildly Ill Child Care: If program wishes to be licensed for this specialty
- Nutrition: Defines food service procedures
- Transportation: See 251.04 on the Group Policy Checklist
- Orientation of New Staff and Volunteers: Explains who is responsible for orientating new staff, when this will happen, and how it will be documented
- Continuing Education of Staff: Describes for staff the process of obtaining and documenting continuing education
- Personnel: Including job descriptions, benefits, hiring/firing procedures
Policy Development Tips & Resources
- Group Policy Checklist (Wisconsin required items)
- YoungStar Group Policy Checklist | En Español
- Contact your local CCR&R for questions or assistance
- Research wage, hour, and overtime laws in your area
- Ask for policy samples from other effective child care programs
- Interview center directors or other successful service businesses about their procedures to see a variety of ways to handle situations
- You may also want to develop Parent and Staff Handbooks. They are not required but are a good business practice, as most policies are too detailed to be useful to parents or staff.
Writing a Policy from Scratch
- Develop an outline for each policy item listed above.
- Gather information to read and review for each topic.
- Decide what procedures would work best for your unique program and write them down.
This is a long and involved process that takes a great deal of time and effort.
Complete the Group Day Care Policy Checklist and indicate the page numbers of all the items listed. Remember, the items asterisked are required information that need to be included in your policy. If any are missing, add them to your policy.
Mail a copy of your policy draft and the group policy checklist to your Pre-Licensing Technical Consultant for review and comment. When you meet with your Technical Consultant they will share any needed revisions, make recommendations to clarify language, and discuss best practices.
At the end of the Pre-Licensing process, a copy of your completed policies and checklist will be sent to your Licensing Specialist as part of your application packet.
See all Pre-Licensing Resources
Our Resource Center contains many helpful resources for Prospective Providers, including
information on licensing requirements, steps to licensing, training requirements, and much more.