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Do I need a contract for child care?

A Child Care Contract is a written agreement 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 everyone involved.

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 if there are issues with pay.

What is included in a Child Care Contract?

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.

Is a Child Care Authorization important?

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 your child care provider to pick up your 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. 

A Child Care Authorization is also useful if you need temporary authorization for someone to make decisions for your child in the event of a planned or an unexpected absence. A Power of Attorney for Child, however, is the preferred document if you know you will be away and need to give someone the authority to make serious decisions for your child 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, however, you can attach a copy to the contract for hired providers. It can also be helpful to have extra copies for babysitters, friends, or family members that help out. 

Child Care 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 generally 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 network 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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