Child Supervision Ratios Expert Article

In this article, child safety and supervision expert, Elizabeth Rodano, Ed.D., discusses some of the criteria typically used to evaluate the adequacy of supervision in childcare centers, and provides several examples of state specific childcare supervision ratios.

Child Supervision Ratio Expert

Expert Introduction to Supervised Child Care

In 2019, the US Department of Education found that 59% of children not yet enrolled in kindergarten attended a non-parental childcare program at least once a week. Of these children, 62% were attending a childcare center. Larger than family childcare homes, centers can care for a substantial number of children, typically divided into age groups.

Unlike play groups or many nursery programs, the hours are typically longer, and are tailored to meet the needs of working parents. These centers are often able to care for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school age children before and after the school day, as well as during the summer and holiday breaks.

Supervision and Ratios

Childcare centers rely on teaching staff to provide active and competent supervision for children. This, in conjunction with a safe environment and appropriate activities, are the keys to supporting optimal growth and development for children of all ages.

When a child injury occurs, a common issue to come under scrutiny is staff to child supervision ratios. Each state or municipality determines the minimum supervision ratios for their jurisdiction, and these are typically based on the ages of the children in care, with younger children requiring a higher ratio.

Below are a few examples of state specific supervision ratios:

Child Supervision Ratios by State Expert Witness Investigations

Regulatory requirements for ratios vary across the board. However, the number of staff required is not solely dependent on the number of children in a group. The developmental needs of the children, the level of risk of the activity, and the location are some of the other important factors that need to be considered. Program compliance with regulatory ratios alone does not guarantee that the supervision provided to the children is safe.

Evaluating Supervision Quality

When evaluating supervision quality, we often first examine if the minimum ratio was met. Then we determine what supervision in a specific environment should look like and was it maintained effectively. Other areas that may be  addressed can include:

  1. The training and qualifications of the teachers and whether they meet the developmental needs of the children in the group
  2. The attentiveness of the teachers to meet the needs and behaviors of the children in the group
  3. The positioning and proximity of the teachers in regard to the location of the children
  4. The teachers' ability to intervene when necessary

Dr. Rodano can evaluate supervision that was provided to determine if, in the given childcare setting, supervision was appropriate and could have prevented the incident from occurring.

For more information, submit an inquiry or call us at 800.813.6736.

Featured Expert

Elizabeth S. Rodano, Child Care Supervision & Facility Safety Expert

Elizabeth S. Rodano, Ed.D., C.P.S.I.

Child Care Supervision & Facility Safety Expert
Dr. Elizabeth Rodano is an expert in the management and operations of programs and facilities that provide education, supervision, and care to children from early childhood through middle school ages. She applies her expertise to forensic casework involving physical injuries, claims of abuse or neglect, and issues involving licensing and professional liability.


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