03.03.19 Reporting Child Health and Safety Incidents Policy & Procedure

Reporting Child Health and Safety Incidents Policy and Procedure- (03.03.19/10-2023)


As required by the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS), programs will report any incident affecting the health and safety of children or regarding staff or volunteer compliance with laws addressing child abuse and neglect, to your immediate supervisor. The Delegate director, or person in charge, will call the Grantee director immediately but not later than 24 hours after the incident. The Grantee director, or person in charge, will notify the Office of Head Start Program Specialist immediately thereafter but not later than 24 hours after the incident has been reported to the grantee. Delegates failure to report the incident as required above will result in a monitoring discovery or deficiency.

Head Start Policies & Procedures 

Reporting Child Health and Safety Incidents 


The following is a partial list of examples of "significant incidents" as defined by the Office of Head Start. Other incidents that could result in serious injury or harm to a child will be reported.

  • Child injuries that require either hospitalization or emergency room medical treatment: such as a broken bone; a severe sprain; chipped or cracked teeth; head, trauma; deep cuts; contusions or lacerations; or animal bites.
  • Inappropriate discipline: which is any type of conduct used to install fear or humiliate rather than to educate a child, such as poking or pinching a child; making fun of or laughing about a child; using/withholding food or an activity as a punishment or reward; or isolating a child.
  • Potential child abuse and maltreatment: such as grabbing, shoving, shaking, swatting, or dragging a child; spanking or any other type of corporal or physical punishment; binding, tying, or taping a child; terrorizing a child with threats or menacing acts; or any form of sexual contact.
  • Lack of supervision: while in the care or under the supervision of program staff, which includes leaving a child alone anywhere on the grounds of a Head Start facility (e.g., in a classroom, bathroom, on a playground, or during transitions), as well as outside the facility in a parking lot, on a nearby street, or on a bus or another program-approved transportation or excursion.
  • Unauthorized release: where a child is released from a Head Start facility, bus, or other approved program transportation to a person without the permission or authorization of a parent or legal guardian and whose identity had not been verified by photo identification.

 All staff is responsible for ensuring a safe and healthy environment for the children. We must remain attentive and prioritize the children's safety when in our care.

*Significant incident: Any incident that results in a serious injury or harm to a child, violates the Head Start Standards of conduct, or results in a child being left alone, unsupervised, or released to an unauthorized adult.

If an Incident happens:

  1. Follow emergency procedure, if applicable.
  2. Person involved immediately notifies his/her immediate supervisor and this person notifies the delegate director. or person in charge.
  3. Delegate director, or person in charge will call the grantee director immediately after the incident to notify.
  4. If incident was an accident or medical emergency, on the same day, use the Accident Report form (IL444-4077) to document notification to the parents. Complete - 1 copy to parent(s) - 1 copy for child's file.
  5. If the incident was other than a medical emergency, the Education and/or Family Services Coordinator will immediately after the incident do a home visit to notify the parents in person. The notification shall be no later than the end of the same school day. Or, if that is not practicable, as soon as possible thereafter and shall document in writing the reason for any delay beyond the incident day.
  6. Follow DCFS incident reporting procedures to report this incident.
  7. Notify the governing board and policy committee president via phone call or email to summarize the incident and actions but remember to maintain confidentiality requirements.
  8. Within 48 hours formally document the incident by completing the Incident Report form (IL444-4096). Complete - 1 copy to grantee - 1 copy for the child's file
    1. Please Type or Print all information.
    2. Answer all questions completely.
    3. Be as specific as possible.
    4. Make sure to list whether the notification to parents, licensing representative, board, and policy committee presidents, were made via a phone call, in person, or email.
  9. Submit a copy of the Incident Report to the Grantee and include a copy of the report from your agency to your DCFS licensing worker.
  10. Forward any new report after the investigation to the grantee director. 



*This Policy and Procedure will be reviewed annually for revisions, if necessary. Delegate Directors are mandated to review this policy and procedure with all staff during their preservice. Directors shall keep a copy of the signed document in the staff's file and send the grantee a copy of each staff's signature. Directors are mandated to review this policy and procedure with new staff as part of their onboarding within one week after hire.

Staff Acknowledgment:

This Policy and Procedure has been reviewed with me and I ________________________________________________ acknowledge understanding the requirements and expectations outlined in this Reporting Child Health and Safety Incidents Policy and Procedure.  Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Staff Signature: __________________________________________________________  Date: ______________________________________