Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 9: Administration

9.2 Policies

9.2.3 Health Policies Policy Development for Care of Children and Staff Who Are Ill

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 02/25/2022.

All early care and education programs should develop written policies for the management and care of children and staff who are ill. It is important to meet the needs of the individual who is ill while also protecting the health and well-being of others in the program. The policy should be developed in consultation with the program’s child care health consultant and should include:

  • Procedures for obtaining urgent and/or emergency healthcare
  • Seasonal and pandemic infectious disease procedures
  • Procedures for obtaining and maintaining updated individual care plans for children with special health care needs
  • Inclusion/exclusion and re-entry policies for children and staff
  • A description of common childhood illnesses, their management, illness-related precautions, and information to protect the health of other children and staff
  • Medication administration procedures
  • Circumstances and procedures for separating ill children while awaiting family/guardian pickup (taking into account the physical facility and availability of staff to monitor ill children)
  • Procedures for reaching the child’s emergency contact(s) when a child becomes ill
  • Procedures for documenting illnesses in the program including name of person(s) affected, date and time of illness, description of symptoms, the response of the staff person to these symptoms, and who was notified (such as a family/guardian, health care professional, or health department) and the response

Early care and education programs should develop policies and procedures because children and staff can become ill frequently and at unpredictable times. Children and staff come into close and frequent contact with one another in group settings, increasing the risk for spreading infectious diseases.1 Additionally, staff may have known health conditions (e.g., pregnancy, immunocompromised) that may make them more vulnerable to common childhood illnesses. Documenting the occurrence of illness in a program, and the response, can help identify outbreaks of infectious disease in the program and larger community.


It is important to develop policies and procedures in consultation with a child care health consultant who is knowledgeable in appropriate response and reporting for common childhood illnesses. A model policy can be found in the current edition of Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This publication includes handouts and resources for families/guardians and staff about managing infectious diseases in early care and education programs. Other model policies can be found in Model Child Care Health Policies.For more resources, contact your state or local health department.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Child Care Health Consultants Prevention of Exposure to Blood and Body Fluids Medical Emergency Procedures Response to Fire and Burns Inclusion/Exclusion/Dismissal of Ill Children Staff Exclusion for Illness Medication Administration Labeling, Storage, and Disposal of Medications Training of Caregivers/Teachers to Administer Medication Procedure for Parent/Guardian Notification About Exposure of Children to Infectious Disease Infectious Diseases That Require Parent/Guardian Notification List of Excludable and Reportable Conditions for Parents/Guardians First Aid and Emergency Supplies Immunization of Staff Written Policy on Use of Medications Disaster Planning, Training, and Communication Written Plan for Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Contents of Child’s Records Contents of Medication Record
Appendix F: Enrollment/Attendance/Symptom Record
Appendix AA: Medication Administration Packet
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools: A Quick Reference Guide. Aronson SS, Shope TR, eds. 5th ed. Itasca, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2020

  2. Pennsylvania chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Model Child Care Health Polices. Aronson SS, ed. 5th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2014.


Content in the STANDARD was modified on 02/25/2022.