Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 1: Staffing

1.5 Substitutes

1.5.0 Employment of Substitutes

Substitutes should be employed to ensure that child:staff ratios and requirements for direct supervision are maintained at all times. Substitutes and volunteers should be at least eighteen years of age and must meet the requirements specified throughout Standards Those without licenses/certificates should work under direct supervision and should not be alone with a group of children.

A substitute should complete the same background screening processes as the caregiver/teacher. Obtaining substitutes to provide medical care for children with special health care needs is particularly challenging. A substitute nurse should be experienced in delivering the expected medical services. Decisions should be made on whether a parent/guardian will be allowed to provide needed on-site medical services. Substitutes should be aware of the care plans (including emergency procedures) for children with special health care needs.

The risk to children from care by unqualified caregivers/teachers is the same whether the caregiver/teacher is a paid substitute or a volunteer (1).
Substitutes are difficult to find, especially at the last minute. Planning for a competent substitute pool is essential for child care operation. Requiring substitutes for small family child care homes to obtain first aid and CPR certification forces small family child care home caregivers/teachers to close when they cannot be covered by a competent substitute. Since closing a child care home has a negative impact on the families and children they serve, systems should be developed to provide qualified alternative homes or substitutes for family child care home caregivers/teachers.

The lack of back-up for family child care home caregivers/teachers is an inherent liability in this type of care. Parents/guardians who use family child care must be sure they have suitable alternative care, such as family or friends, for situations in which the child’s usual caregiver/teacher cannot provide the service.

Substitutes should have orientation and training on basic health and safety topics. Substitutes should not have an infectious disease when providing care.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Ratios for Small Family Child Care Homes Ratios for Large Family Child Care Homes and Centers Ratios for Facilities Serving Children with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities Ratios and Supervision During Transportation Ratios and Supervision for Swimming, Wading, and Water Play Differentiated Roles Qualifications of Lead Teachers and Teachers Qualifications for Assistant Teachers, Teacher Aides, and Volunteers Additional Qualifications for Caregivers/Teachers Serving Children Birth to Thirty-Five Months of Age Additional Qualifications for Caregivers/Teachers Serving Children Three to Five Years of Age Additional Qualifications for Caregivers/Teachers Serving School-Age Children General Qualifications of Family Child Care Caregivers/Teachers to Operate a Family Child Care Home Support Networks for Family Child Care Orientation of Substitutes Pre-Employment and Ongoing Adult Health Appraisals, Including Immunization
  1. National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). NAFCC official Website.