FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Policies exist to help the Fort Leonard Wood community understand the expectations when it comes to children and what constitutes proper supervision.
No child will be left unattended, either by the absence or inattention of parents, guardians, foster parents, care givers or supervisors, under circumstances involving potential or actual risk to the child’s health and safety, the policies state.
Further, the policies define the term “supervisor” as any person 13 years of age or older, who is knowingly and willingly in a supervisory childcare role and can adequately provide for a child’s welfare and safety in all circumstances deemed appropriate. A supervisor under the age of 18 must have immediate access to adult supervision in case of an emergency. Access is defined as the supervisor having the ability to:
- contact a verifiable, prearranged and responsible adult in the immediate housing area;
- assure the sponsor knows the location of the child; and
- understand how to access emergency services.
Note: the child-to-supervisor ratio varies depending on the age of the child and the age of the supervisor.
The policies also define certain types of supervision, including what’s called direct supervision — when an adult supervises on a regular basis during out-of-school hours during the parental duty day — and monitored supervision and self-care, which is occurring when an adult is aware of a child’s location and activities during out-of-school hours, and an emergency contact is available at all times — parents assess their child’s ability to be in monitored self-care.
Additionally, children who meet the criteria for the Exceptional Family Member Program, as defined by AR 608-75, may require special supervision. These guidelines are to be modified in accordance with the child’s needs.
Included in the policies is a child supervision matrix, which helps break down which activities require supervision based on the age of the child.
According to the matrix:
- children 4 years and younger require supervision in all instances;
- children ages 5 and 6 may play alone outside in a designated safe area, but must have immediate access (defined as visual sight or hearing distance) to adult supervision;
- children ages 7 through 9 may play alone outside with access to adult supervision and the child’s sponsor knows the child’s location;
- children 10 and 11 years old may be left alone at home on occasion for a maximum of three hours at a time, with ready access to adult supervision; they may also play outside with access to adult supervision; and they may be left unattended in a vehicle, as long as the keys are removed and the parking brake is applied;
- children ages 12 to 14 years old may be left alone at home on occasion with ready access to adult supervision; they may play outside with access to adult supervision; they may be left unattended in a vehicle; they may child sit siblings; and they may child sit others, but not overnight; and
- children ages 15 to 17 years old may be left alone at home; they may be left alone overnight with access to adult supervision; they may play alone outside with access to adult supervision; they may be left unattended in vehicles; they may child sit siblings; and they may child sit others, including overnight.
The policies remind parents that each child is unique, and that the policy is the minimum community standards here. It is also recommended that children who will child sit first attend a training course through Fort Leonard Wood’s Child and Youth Services. More information is available here or by calling 573.596.0238.