What to Do When a Parent Shows Up Drunk

6a0133f3fc5805970b01538fcf70bc970b-200wiOne day a parent is picking up her child from your family child care home when you notice one of the following:

* The parent smells of alcohol

* The parent does not have a car seat for her toddler

* The parent is barely awake, or is acting erratically

You face two potential risks in these situations. If the child is injured in a car accident, you could lose your license. This is because child care providers are mandated reporters of child neglect, and the child in these situations is at risk. (If you are not certain that you would be required to report this, contact your state’s office of child protection.)

In addition, the parent could sue you for failing to take steps to keep the child safe.

To protect yourself, you should adopt a transportation policy that will help keep children safe. Ask for the names of people who can pick up the child in an emergency. Call a cab. Tell the parent to go home and get their car seat and then return. Drive the child home yourself. Discuss other options with the parent. In the end, if the parent refuses to cooperate, call 911. Here’s a sample transportation policy you can use.

When a parent does show up drunk or without a car seat, you need to take action and follow the steps in your transportation policy. If the parent demands her child, do not refuse to give up her up. Failure to give the child to the parent could expose you to a charge of kidnapping!

Do not act like one child care provider who told me she kept a baseball bat inside her front door to deal with disruptive parents. No!

Use your transportation policy to communicate with parents upon enrollment, so these situations do not arise. If they do, follow your policy. If the parent takes the child, don’t hesitate to call 911 and report the license plate number.

Taking these steps will help keep children safe and protect your business.

Image credit: 123rf.com

Contracts & Policies book For more information, see my book Family Child Care Contract and Policies.


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