Child Supervision Ratios – Expert Introduction to Supervised Care

In this article, supervised care expert, Lisa A. Thorsen, Ed.D., C.R.C., C.P.S.I., discusses some of the criteria used to evaluate the adequacy of child supervision, and provides several examples of state specific child supervision ratios.

Child Care

Child Care Agencies are designed to support children through supervision, environmental safety, staff training and curriculum.

When children are injured at care facilities, a common issue that comes under scrutiny is the staff to child supervision ratio. Each State provides minimum standards for supervision ratios as a guide to agencies focused on the care of children.

Below are a few examples of state specific supervision ratios:

As you can see, regulatory state requirements vary. Specific conditions and activities are what will determine how many supervisors should be in attendance in any given room. Numbers alone do not however, guarantee that the quality of supervision provided to the children is safe.

Evaluating Supervision Quality

The quality of supervision is related to other factors such as visibility, audibility, proximity, and attentiveness and is influenced by the physical, intellectual, social and emotional functional capacity of the child and particularly to the level of training and experience of the supervisors.

Is the supervisor able to see the individual for whom they are responsible? Are they close enough to intervene? Is the supervisor attentive to the needs and behaviors of the individual? Can they hear the activities in which the individual is engaged?

Dr. Thorsen can evaluate supervision that was provided to determine if, in that venue, supervision was appropriate and should have prevented the incident occurrence.

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