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Get Your Summer Child Care Plans and Instructions in Order

Summer is almost here, and for many parents that means piecing together child care schedules in the absence of schools and in between organized daycare, summer activities, and camps. Finding someone to care for your child is not an easy task. Once you have a babysitter or nanny you are comfortable with and child care plans that work for you, you may want to formalize the arrangement. 

There are documents you can prepare that will protect you and your child’s caregiver. Here is what you need to know about Child Care Contracts and how they can help you preserve the right child care options for your family.


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Do I need a contract for child care?

A Child Care Contract is a legal caregiver document signed by parents and their children’s caregivers that outlines what is expected in terms of care. A contract is not legally required to hire a child care provider, but it does provide valuable protection for both the family and the caregiver. A contract makes the care requirements clear for all parties.

Child care providers also benefit from having a contract in place. If you are taking on the role of caregiver for a child, consider asking for or creating a contract. This will help you clarify your role so that you can perform it well. Contracts protect caregivers from excessive demands for service or a rate of pay that is not enough.

What is included in a Child Care Contract?

A Child Care Contract outlines the terms and conditions of the child care agreement. This may include:

  • Meal prep and cleaning responsibilities
  • Child care provider compensation
  • Hours of care 
  • Instructions and guidance for medical needs and emergencies 
  • Procedures in the event of a disagreement or conflict

By putting these terms in writing, you can be confident that your caregiving expectations have been made clear in the agreement.

What is a Child Care Authorization document?

A nanny or child care provider may need to make decisions about a child’s care that are typically the parent’s responsibility, such as seeking medical care in an emergency. A Child Care Authorization document allows the parent or guardian to give the caregiver limited responsibility and authorization for these types of decisions if the parent or guardian cannot be present. For example, the document could provide permission for the child care provider to pick up a child from a summer activity or take them to the doctor. Without proper authorization, your child care provider might not be allowed to do either of these things. 

When is a Child Care Authorization needed?

The Child Care Authorization document is needed if you want, for instance, your child’s summer camp to release your child to your child care provider. It is also useful if you need temporary authorization for someone to make decisions for your child in the event of an unexpected absence. 

A Power of Attorney for Child is the preferred document if you know you will be away and need to give someone the authority to make decisions for your child, such as leaving your child with a caregiver, like a grandparent, while you are out of town.

What should I include in my Child Care Instructions?

Child Care Instructions are separate from a Child Care Contract. The instructions are an important part of your child care plans in that they provide important information about the child’s care, including the pediatrician’s phone number, prescription details, food allergies, or eating preferences. By putting all of these details in one document, families can ensure caregivers have what they need to provide excellent care. Child Care Instructions should include:

  • Medical details 
  • Emergency contacts
  • Pediatrician contact information
  • Name, location, and contact information for the nearest hospital
  • Sleeping and eating schedules
  • Step-by-step guidance for routines, like bedtime or bottles
  • All other details that will help the provider care for your child

Leaving your child or children with a caregiver can be stressful, especially if you plan to be away for a while or need to travel far. Get your child care plans and documents in order with the help of Rocket Lawyer to ensure your bases are covered with proper contracts, authorizations, and instructions, or even a Power of Attorney if needed. If you are confused about what you may or may not need, or just need help with a document, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney for affordable advice and answers to your specific questions.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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