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Working With or Near Children? Protect Your Clients and Your Reputation by Staying On Top of Regulations

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Working With or Near Children? Protect Your Clients and Your Reputation by Staying On Top of Regulations

By NicoleD
Published: July 23, 2010 Updated: November 15, 2011

Most child care providers must be licensed and registered with their state. However, there many other business types that cater to children, but do not fall under the traditional child care

No matter what your business is, you are responsible for ensuring a safe environment for your employees and customers. When your business caters to children under the age of 18, you will likely comply with additional safety requirements. Whether you are tutoring students in your home or you own a gymnastics studio, there are some basic precautions you can take to create a safe environment:

Screen your employees and volunteers

The use of background checks to screen employees and volunteers has grown steadily since 1993, when the National Child Protection Act became law. Today, it is common for many businesses and organizations- particularly those that cater to children' to screen workers for criminal red flags, especially those involving drugs, alcohol, and violence. For additional guidance, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention offers a three-part decision making model for business and organizations to create an employment screening process.

I's important to keep in mind that not every state has passed legislation on screening employees who work with or near children. If your state has laws in place, you can learn more by contacting your local licensing department or social welfare agency.

Finally, remember to check your state laws regarding privacy requirements. This pre-employment checklist from Business.gov outlines the types of information that employers often consult before hiring an employee, and the laws governing their access and use in making hiring decisions. If you have specific questions about what you can legally include in your pre-employment check, contact your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office.

Create a safe environment

Ensure that your facilities meet your state and local safety regulations for zoning, fire codes, and sanitation. Your local licensing board may require site visits or inspections to satisfy safety regulations. If you need guidance on creating a safe work environment, the Department of Labor provides OSHA Guidance for Small Businesses, which features a user-friendly portal designed to help small businesses understand and comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to comply with additional safety requirements. For example, if you run an art school, you will need to pay particular attention to the tools that your students access, in order to prevent injury. Nevertheless, accidents do happen, so you may want to consult with a local small business attorney to draft a liability waiver that the childre's guardians can sign upon enrollment.

Final thoughts on maintaining safety practices

Prevention and planning are fundamental in maintaining a safe work environment:

  • I's a good idea to train your staff in first aid and CPR, even if your local licensing board does't require you do to so.
  • Ensure that your insurance plan adequately protects your business and your customers. You can learn more about business insurance at Business.gov.

    Related Resources

    All businesses must comply with advertising and marketing laws - failure to do so could result in costly lawsuits and civil penalties. But, if your business targets a youth demographic, you should be aware of additional regulations that apply to businesses that market their products or services to children. Read Marketing to Children: Where Is the Line and Who Enforces It? for more details.

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