ChildWatch Parent Handbook
Revised July 26, 2022
Philosophy and Goals
YMCA ChildWatch is a quality program designed to provide care for children from 8 weeks old to 11 years of age, while parents are exercising or participating in YMCA programs. We provide a safe, creative environment based on our four core values of honesty, respect, responsibility, and caring that are essential for positive character development.
YMCA ChildWatch will provide a safe, nurturing atmosphere in which children exercise individual responsibility, social interaction, and activities that promote healthy self-image and enhance the quality of a child’s life. YMCA ChildWatch enrolls participants without discrimination of race, religion, creed, color, or national origin. Families needing financial assistance towards a family membership, may fill out a scholarship application at the Member Services Desk.
YMCA Mission Statement
The Billings Family YMCA seeks to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.
The YMCA ChildWatch strives to provide learning experiences and opportunities to develop relationships, self-confidence and respect for others. We do this through planned activities that may include arts, blocks, dramatic play, toys and games, library, discovery, music and movement, outdoor play and physical activity. The program’s environment will attempt to meet a wide variety of participant needs.
Each child will….
1. Be loved and cared for in a safe, healthy, and fun environment.
2. Be given an opportunity to develop their social, emotional, and physical skills.
3. Be respected for their individuality and given experiences to foster a positive attitude about themselves and others.
4. Be given positive, age-appropriate experiences in their environments.
ChildWatch is offered to all members with a YMCA Family Membership while they are in the building. Limited out of building service is offered to our members at a charge of $5.00 per hour per child. Each child is allowed a 3-hour limit regardless of whether they are in the building or out of the building. Each child’s registration and a current immunization record must be provided before the child attends ChildWatch (NO EXCEPTIONS). Members may not bring their children into ChildWatch prior to opening.
Infant/toddler area: Children 8 weeks to 2 years of age must remain in the gated area designated for this age group. Children older than 2 years of age may also be in this area depending on their walking ability and social capabilities. Children must come in with a fresh diaper change and fed. ChildWatch staff will change your child’s diaper if necessary, but may ask you to change your child if they are being checked in with a soiled diaper. ChildWatch staff will bottle feed your child and give toddlers snacks. Please do not bring them in hungry. Make sure all your child’s food and directions are clearly labeled.
Children’s play area:
This area is designed for children 2 years of age and older. A curriculum of games, activities, stories, arts and crafts, songs, fitness, and other developmental programs will be followed. Other amenities of the YMCA may also be incorporated into this program. If you would like your child to participate in snack time, please bring a snack for your child that is clearly labeled with their name on it. Please do not bring in items that need refrigeration or cooked Snacks must be ready to go. ChildWatch is a peanut free environment. Peanuts and peanut products will not be given to the children in the center due to children with severe peanut allergies.
As a parent of a child enrolled in the YMCA ChildWatch, if you have a suggestion, question, concern or complaint about the program, the conduct of the staff or the policies, the best course of action to take is:
1. Talk to the staff when you pick your child up.
2. Talk to the Program Coordinator.
3. If the concern or problem is not resolved in Step 1 or 2, please contact the Youth Development Director.
Data Privacy Provision
YMCA ChildWatch programs comply with State and Federal data privacy laws. Information gathered from the registration and medical forms is shared only with the ChildWatch staff in order to serve your child properly. Information regarding families who are funded through financial assistance is shared only with the Administrative Staff.
Health and Safety
Sign In and Out policies
A parent or an authorized adult must accompany each child in and out of ChildWatch each day. Children will not be released to an unauthorized person. Parents must provide in writing if someone other than themselves are picking their child up from ChildWatch. ChildWatch staff will ask for identification from the person picking up the child. A photo ID, such as a driver’s license will be required from that person to pick up your child. You and your children will be given wrist bands. You must bring in your wristband at the time of pick up. Wrist bands are matched up and then the child will be released.
*****If a parent comes to pick up a child and appears to be intoxicated or under the influence, the child will not be released to the parent; and as required by state law, the YMCA staff will immediately call local law enforcement.
Health and Wellness of Children
In the interest of your child’s health and safety, as well as the wellbeing of the children in our care and the staff who attend to the children, we require that sick children will not be allowed in ChildWatch. Any child, who feels ill, is infectious, contagious, or unusually sleepy shall not attend ChildWatch. Services will be denied if your child shows symptoms of illness during check in. Parent cooperation is essential to the overall restriction of contagious diseases/viruses in our center. If a child becomes ill in ChildWatch, staff will take appropriate steps to care for the child. The child will be removed from the other children while the parent is notified to pick their child up from the center. The YMCA follows the Yellowstone City-County Health Guidelines for all child care programs.
RiverStone Health Childcare Illness Policy
A designated person must check each child’s health status upon entry to care and exclude any child with the following symptoms. Children who come with any of these symptoms cannot stay in the program.
1. Fever of 100 degrees or greater- child must be without fever for 24 hours before they can return to care.
2. Vomiting and diarrhea-children must be without vomiting and diarrhea for 24 hours before they can return. Vomiting includes two or more episodes in the previous 24-hour period. Diarrhea is defined as an increased number of stools, increased water in the stool, and/or decreased form to the stool that cannot be contained by a diaper or clothing.
3. Bacterial infections-children with bacterial infections must have antibiotic treatment for 24 hours before returning to childcare for:
• Strep throat
• Scarlet fever
• Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
• Skin infections – such as draining burns/wounds
4. Chickenpox-children with chickenpox cannot attend childcare until the sores dry up (usually 5-7 days). Children cannot be exposed to chickenpox, even with the parent’s permission.
5. Symptoms of severe illness or COVID symptoms, whether or not they would otherwise be excluded. Examples: Uncontrolled coughing, breathing difficulties or wheezing, stiff neck, irritability, poor food or fluid intake, or a seizure. Such children must be evaluated by a healthcare provider before they may return to childcare.
6. A child need not be excluded for a nasal discharge unless the discharge is green and accompanied by a fever. Such symptoms may indicate an infection. Children with such discharge must be evaluated by a physician and authorized to return.
7. If a child develops symptoms of illness after the parent or guardian has left, the childcare center must do the following:
• Isolate child immediately, while following our child abuse prevention policies.
• Contact and inform parent/guardian, as soon as possible and request him or her to pick up the child.
• Report each case of suspected communicable diseases the same day by telephone to the local health department (i.e. salmonella, shigella, giardia, campylobacter,etc.)
The YMCA reserves the right to require a medical release for the child to be able to return to ChildWatch.
Administration of Medications
The YMCA ChildWatch program will not give medication to any child in our care. This includes medications such as prescription medications, Tylenol, Benadryl, and other common over the counter medications, including diaper cream. All medications, whether prescription or over the counter are prohibited at the YMCA ChildWatch Program.
Policy for Recording and Reporting Accidents
In the event of a medical emergency, staff will take the necessary steps to obtain care for the child. These steps include:
1. Administer first-aid deemed appropriate by staff.
2. Completion of an Accident/Incident Report to be kept on file.
3. Inform parent of accident/incident and what type of first-aid was administered. If appropriate, the parent may be asked to pick the child up from ChildWatch.
Severe Medical Emergency
If immediate care of a physician or paramedic is required, staff will:
1. Call 911 immediately. Parents will be contacted immediately after 911 has been called.
2. If a parent cannot be reached, staff will attempt to contact an authorized person found on the Registration Form.
3. In the event that a child will need to be transported to a medical facility, the paramedics will determine if the child will be transported by an emergency vehicle.
4. Families will be responsible for any expenses incurred due to a child’s injury.
Because accidents can happen, it is important that the YMCA has current phone numbers where parent/guardians can be reached, as well as the numbers for the authorized persons listed on the registration form. ChildWatch staff must also be informed of where the parent will be with in the building so in the case of an emergency, the parent may be found.
Medical coverage for children will be the responsibility of the parents.
Child Abuse and Neglect
Under Montana State Law, all professional staff that work in childcare are required to report all suspected physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or neglect of children to Child Protective Services.
Registration and Immunization records
Registration forms and immunization records are required for the use of ChildWatch. It is extremely important to keep the information on these forms up to date. The YMCA must be notified of any changes immediately and immunization records need to be updated each time your child receives updated shots.
Late Pick-up Fees
The YMCA ChildWatch provides program services from 8:30am – 1:30pm & 3:45pm – 7:30pm Monday through Thursday. Friday 8:30am -1:30pm and Saturday from 8:00am – Noon. Parents may not bring their children into ChildWatch prior to opening. Parents are required to pick-up and sign out their child no later than the 3 - hour limit. Unless prior arrangements have been made for the late pick up, a late pick up fee of $1 for every minute will be charged and paid to the YMCA Member Service Desk. After 15 minutes, if parents have not contacted ChildWatch or picked up the child, emergency authorized persons will be contacted to pick up the child. Attempts will be made by staff to reach the parent. If the child remains at the program one hour after the 3-hour limit and staff have not succeeded in contactingthe parent or an emergency contact, YMCA staff will call local law enforcement for child abandonment and law enforcement will handle the situation. Excessive late pick-ups can result in your child being suspended from the program.
ChildWatch Crying Rule
Staff will make every effort to calm and comfort a child that is crying. If a child continues to cry for 15 minutes continually the child’s parent will be asked to pick up their child. This circumstance would include when a child is requiring one on one care for 15 minutes continually in order to stop crying
Child Guidance and Discipline
The goals of the YMCA ChildWatch are to guide children to develop respect for themselves and each other. When conflicts arise over the rights of other people or property, the staff will attempt to work with each child individually and in small groups to solve and resolve problems and concerns.
1. Parents will be notified of any problems that may arise.
2. If a child continues to experience difficulty with their behavior, a parent/staff conference will be held with the ChildWatch Coordinator.
3. If conflicts continue to exist without solution, a child may be suspended from the program.
4. If a problem with a child is deemed excessive, dangerous or puts the ChildWatch staff at risk of neglecting the other children in the program, a discipline action will be written up on the child and they may be suspended. If a child has been written up with a discipline action three times, the child may be indefinitely suspended from the YMCA program.
5. The YMCA ChildWatch program has a NO Tolerance Policy for the following:
• Weapons, anything that looks like a weapon, or can be used as a weapon
• Inappropriate language (cussing)
• Fighting or extreme hands-on behavior
In any of these cases, parents will immediately be notified to come and pick up their child. Length of suspension may range from the rest of that day to indefinitely, depending on the severity of the offense.
At any time, the YMCA may choose to terminate your child’s involvement with the YMCA.