Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 9: Administration

9.2 Policies

9.2.1 Overview Written Discipline Policies

Each facility should have a written discipline policy reflective of the positive methods of guidance appropriate to the ages of the children enrolled outlined in Standard and prohibited caregiver behaviors as outlined in Standard

The facility should have policies for dealing with biting, hitting, and other undesired behavior by children and written protocol reflective guidance outlined in Standard

Policies should explicitly prohibit corporal punishment, psychological abuse, humiliation, abusive language, binding or tying to restrict movement, restriction of access to large motor physical activities, and the withdrawal or forcing of food and other basic needs.

All caregivers/teachers should sign an agreement to implement the facility’s discipline policies. A policy explicitly stating the consequence for staff who do not follow the discipline policies should be reviewed and signed by each staff member prior to hiring.

Caregivers/teachers are more likely to avoid abusive practices if they are well-informed about effective, non-abusive methods for managing children’s behaviors. Positive methods of discipline create a constructive and supportive social group and reduce incidents of aggression.

Corporal punishment may be physical abuse or may become abusive very easily. Research links corporal punishment with negative effects such as later criminal behavior and impairment of learning (1-3). Primary factors supporting the prohibition of certain methods of punishment include current child development theory and practice, legal aspects (namely that a caregiver/teacher is not acting in place of parents/guardians with regard to the child), and increasing liability suits. According to the NARA 2008 Child Care Licensing Study, forty-eight states prohibit corporal punishment in centers; forty-three of forty-four states that license small family child care homes prohibit corporal punishment and only one state does not prohibit corporal punishment in large family child care homes (4).

Parents/guardians should be encouraged to utilize similar positive discipline methods at home in order to encourage these practices and to provide a more consistent discipline approach for the child.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Discipline Measures Handling Physical Aggression, Biting, and Hitting Preventing Expulsions, Suspensions, and Other Limitations in Services Prohibited Caregiver/Teacher Behaviors
  1. Paintal, S. 1999. Banning corporal punishment of children: A position paper. Child Educ 76:36-39.
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on School Health. 2006. Policy statement: Corporal punishment in the schools. Pediatrics 106:343.
  3. Education Commission of the States. 1999. Collection of clearinghouse notes, 1998-1999. Denver, CO: ECS.