Short-Term Exclusion & Readmission (Sick Child) Policy & Guidance Policy Number and Last Update (03.02.02/01-2011)
Every Illinois Migrant and Seasonal Head Start delegate must have a written short-term Exclusion and Re-admission (Sick Child) Policy. This policy is for times when exclusion of a child is necessary for a short-term period when keeping the child in care poses a significant risk to the health or safety of the child or anyone in contact with the child. The delegate agency must not deny program admission to any child nor exclude any enrolled child from program participation for a long-term period, solely on the basis of his or her health care needs or medication requirements. Once a policy is written, it is to be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually. Delegate staff, parents, the Board, and Health Services Advisory Committee must give input into writing and revising this policy.
The primary purpose of this policy is to:
- Protect sick or injured children;
- Protect other children, staff, and volunteers;
- Comply with rules of the Illinois Department of Health and DCFS Day Care Licensing Standards, and with Head Start Performance Standards; and
- Avoid misunderstandings between the program and parents.
Policies should include criteria and procedures for:
- When to exclude a sick or injured child and who decides;
- Re-admittance of a recovering child;
- Guidelines for notifying parents of their child's illness or accident; and
- Guidelines for ensuring confidentiality (who has the need or right to know about any child's illness or condition?)
When establishing a policy to exclude or re-admit a sick or injured child, the following should be considered:
- Rules and Regulations - Has the child been diagnosed with an illness that requires exclusion by the Health Department?
- The health of the sick child - Is the child so sick that exposure to another illness will cause him to get sicker? Can the child participate in the center's regular activities?
- The health of other children, staff, and volunteers - Can continued exposure to the illness or condition infect others?
- The program's ability to meet the needs of a sick child - Is there enough staff to take care of an ill child and still care for other children? Is there a room or place to care for a sick child? (However, remember, a child cannot be excluded or denied admission solely on the basis of health care needs or medication requirements.)
Other questions to consider when writing the policy:
- Who decides if a child is to be excluded and/or re-admitted to the center?
- Who informs the parents and how will this be done?
- How can the program's staff help parents plan ahead for childcare alternatives in case of illness for which the center cannot provide care?
Parents must be given a copy of the center's Sick Child Policy when they enroll their child. It is important that everyone understands and follows this policy for the benefit of all children in the program.