5101:2-12-20 Supervision, staff/child ratios and grouping for licensed child care centers.

(A) Supervision of children is the function of actively observing and guiding a child or group of children. This includes awareness of and responsibility for the activity of each child and being physically present and near enough to intervene if needed. Supervision means child care staff members have knowledge of children's needs, accountability for their care, and knowledge of which children they are responsible for at all times. With the exception of school age children in programs that have a written supervision policy permitting school age children to be supervised as specified in paragraph (E) of this rule, no child shall ever be left alone or unsupervised. Supervised means that children shall be within sight and hearing of child care staff members at all times. Staff must be able to see and hear children without the use of mechanical devices such as baby monitors, video cameras or walkie talkies. The use of mirrors to view children in another room does not meet the supervision requirements of this rule.

(B) No employee shall be under the influence of any substance that impairs the employee's ability to supervise children and/or perform the employee's duties.

(C) The center shall employ the number of child care staff members needed to meet staff/child ratios for the center's enrollment or license capacity, whichever is less, except as noted in rule 5101:2-12-04.1 of the Administrative Code. Child care staff members shall be assigned to a group of children and shall have regularly assigned working hours to give continuity of care and supervision to children. The ratio of child care staff to children present shall be:

Age of children Staff/child ratio
Infants (birth and under 12 months) 1 to 5 or 2 to 12 in same room
Infants (12 months and under 18 months) 1 to 6
Toddlers (18 months and under 2 1/2 years) 1 to 7
Toddlers (2 1/2 years and under 3 years) 1 to 8
Preschool - three years 1 to 12
Preschool - four and five years of age 1 to 14
School age - kindergarten to 11 1 to 18
School age - 11 years through 14 years 1 to 20

(1) When there is a combination of ages within a group of children the age of the youngest child determines the staff/child ratio. The only exception to this is that when no more than one child, two and one half years of age or older, is permanently assigned to a group in which all the other children are in the next older age group, the staff/child ratio shall be determined by the older children.

(2) Child care staff members shall not be counted in the staff/child ratio if they are engaged in duties that interfere with the staff's supervision of children.

Child care staff members shall not be counted in the staff/child ratio if they are engaged in telephone conversations or conversations with parents that prevent child care staff members from adequately supervising children.

(3) During nap time the staff may supervise twice the number of toddlers, preschool and school children allowed by the staff/child ratio provided all of the following are met:

(a) At least one child care staff member is physically present supervising the room during nap time.

(b) There are enough child care staff members readily accessible within the building to ensure that required staff/child ratios can be met.

(c) Nap time preparations are complete, and all children are sleeping or resting on cots.

(d) These nap time provisions are in effect for no longer than two hours during a twenty-four hour period.

(4) To show compliance with staff/child ratios, a JFS 01306 "Employee Record Chart" (rev. 9/2011) shall be maintained by the center and shall be available for review by the Ohio department of job and family services (ODJFS). The JFS 01306 shall include:

(a) The name of each employee.

(b) Position of employee.

(c) Date of employment.

(d) Group assignment if the employee is a child care staff member.

(e) Days and hours the employee is assigned to work. If a child care staff member has other duties at the center, indicate when the staff member is assigned to a group of children.

(5) The center shall post the JFS 01310 "Required Staff/Child Ratios for Child Care Centers" (03/2006) in a conspicuous area at the entrance of each classroom or home base area to assure that parents are aware of the required ratio for all groups of children.

(D) The center shall implement a written policy for the following:

(1) Arrival and departure of children to assure that a child care staff member is aware of each child's presence at the center.

(2) Arrival and departure of children to and from public school buses, assuring that all children are supervised as they are getting on and off the school bus. Children shall not be permitted to walk unsupervised to or from the vehicle that is to be transporting them.

(3) Release of a child to persons other than the parent or guardian. A child shall only be released to persons sixteen years of age or older, except when parent or guardian permission is on file. This written permission shall be signed and dated by the parent or guardian and administrator.

(4) Determining the whereabouts of a child when the child is absent, but is scheduled to be at the center. The procedure shall only be for children who do not arrive at the center with their parent or guardian.

(5) Plan for operation when schools or programs are delayed or canceled due to inclement weather or other emergency situations.

(E) The center shall have and implement its own policy whether to permit the following when caring for school children:

(1) School children may run errands inside the building or use the restroom alone or in groups of no more than six children without adult supervision as long as the following conditions are met:

(a) Children are within hearing distance of a child care staff member.

(b) The child care staff member checks on the children at least every five minutes until they return to the group.

(c) The restroom shall be for the exclusive use of the center.

(2) One group of no more than six school children, fourth grade age or older, may engage in activities which pose no physical risk to their safety in a room without a child care staff member as long as the child care staff member:

(a) Can see or hear the children at all times.

(b) Checks on the children at least every five minutes.

(3) School children may leave the center for specific activities, including walking to and from the center or school, walking home or to another destination. Written permission shall be obtained from the parent or guardian and kept on file at the center. The written permission shall specify:

(a) The child's name.

(b) The child's destination.

(c) Arrangements for transportation to and from the activities.

(d) Time of arrival and departure.

(e) Time period for which permission is given.

(f) Parent or guardian's signature and date.

(4) School children may participate in activities in the building sponsored by other groups. Written permission shall be obtained from the parent or guardian and kept on file at the center for review. The written permission shall specify:

(a) The child's name.

(b) The nature of the activity.

(c) Location in the building.

(d) Arrangements for going to and from the activity.

(e) Starting and ending times of the activity.

(f) Time period for which permission is given.

(g) Parent or guardians signature and date.

(F) Children may visit the next older age group for transitioning purposes. There shall be room for the transitioning child in the next age group, and the staff/child ratios and group sizes shall be maintained. The center shall have a procedure for listing these children on attendance records, including the specific days and times the child is with either group. The center shall have available in the classrooms, a copy of the transition agreement between the parent and the center as required in rule 5101:2-12-30 of the Administrative Code.

(G) If a regularly employed child care staff member is unable, for any reason, to fulfill the responsibility for the care of children, the staff member shall be replaced immediately by another child care staff member. A list of substitutes and verification of their qualifications shall be kept on file for review by ODJFS.

(H) The child care center shall at all times have at least two responsible adults available on the premises and at field or routine trip destinations when seven or more children are present. One adult shall be a child care staff member.

(1) The second adult shall:

(a) Be available within the building or immediate area used for children.

(b) Be able to be summoned by the child care staff member without leaving the group unsupervised.

(c) Be able to react as to reduce risk to children during an emergency.

(2) If the second adult is not an employee of the center, the following documentation shall be on file:

(a) A signed copy of the JFS 01238 "Second Adult Statement" (rev. 9/2011). This statement shall be updated annually.

(b) A signed non-conviction statement as required by rule 5101:2-12-26 of the Administrative Code.

(I) The children shall be organized in groups to give continuity of care and supervision to the children on a day by day basis. Children shall not be moved from one group to another to maintain staff/child ratios.

(1) "Group" is defined as a given number of children assigned to specific child care staff members.

(2) Facilities caring for more than one group in a classroom or area shall assign children to specific child care staff members who are responsible for their care.

(3) Each group shall have a designated home base area.

(J) Group size shall not exceed twice the maximum number of children allowed per child care staff member as required in the staff/child ratio section of this rule.

(1) When age groups are combined the group size for the youngest child shall apply.

(2) Group size limitations shall not be interpreted to apply during nap time, evening sleep time, meal time, snack time, outdoor play, field trips, routine trips or special occasions.

(K) If there is a time when there is no more than twelve children present on the premises, the children being cared for at this time may be cared for as one group, and this group may include children of all ages. This mixed age group shall be cared for in a safe environment.

(L) A record of daily attendance shall be kept for each child enrolled, beginning on the child's first day.

(1) A record of daily attendance for each group shall be kept by the child care staff member responsible for that group. Attendance records shall remain with the group at all times throughout the day including: outdoor play, emergency evacuations and when groups are combined. This record shall specify:

(a) The names and birth dates of children.

(b) The names of the child care staff members responsible for the group.

(c) The designated area used as home base.

(d) For those centers caring for children on both a part time and a full time basis, the attendance record shall include the days and hours of enrollment for each child.

(2) Attendance shall be recorded by the child care staff member upon the child's arrival, and the attendance record shall provide for documentation of each child's departure.

(3) A child attending the center on a drop in basis shall be listed on the attendance sheet of the group to which they are assigned.

(4) The written records of attendance shall be kept for a period of one year. A copy of attendance records shall remain at the center at all times.

Effective: 09/29/2011
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 07/14/2011 and 09/01/2016
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5104.011
Rule Amplifies: 5104.011
Prior Effective Dates: 3/1/81, 6/1/84, 9/1/86, 1/2/92 (Emer.), 4/1/92, 4/1/03, 1/1/07, 8/14/08