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Summary of Rules for After School Programs serving Adolescents


Summary of Rules for After School Programs serving Adolescents

Policy for implementing Chapter 0520-12-1 in programs serving only adolescent populations



Child care centers inspected by the Department of Education must meet the requirements as defined by the rules in Chapter 0520-12-1 to receive a Certificate of Approval.  The following is to clarify the interpretation of Chapter 0520-12-1 in programs serving adolescent populations in order that such programs meet minimum health and safety standards and provide supervision and program activities which are developmentally appropriate.   Adolescence is defined as the period of physical and psychological development from the onset of puberty to maturity.


1.   Organization and Administration

  • Child Care Center shall have an adequate budget.  Records shall be kept on all adolescents. 
  • Staff records shall also be kept on each employee that include educational background, reference checks, TBI check, in-service training, physical exams and performance reviews. (Program volunteers shall complete criminal history background checks and appropriate in-service training.)

·         The program shall post their Certificate of Approval and provide parents with a copy of the policies and procedures.  

·         Parents shall have access to all areas of the program when their adolescent is present. 

  • If the program provides transportation, the transportation shall be in accordance with the school system's transportation policy, T.C.A.§49-6-2102 and Chapter 0520-1-5-.01(6); the operation of the school bus shall be in accordance with Chapter 1340 -3-3 and the school bus driver shall be appropriately licensed.


2.         Staff, Chapter Section 0520-12-1-.07:

  1. Qualifications: 

·         The director is responsible for the day to day operations, including staff and program. 

·         Another person shall be left in charge if the director is out. 

·         Any person with a condition that could be harmful to an adolescent or a person convicted of a crime harmful to or involving an adolescent shall not be present. 

·         Staff shall have knowledge of adolescent behavior and development. 

·         Staff shall be physically, mentally and emotionally stable. 

·         All new employees shall have orientation and child abuse prevention training before working with the adolescents. 

·         The director shall have at least a high school diploma and 4 years experience working with adolescents. 

·         All caregivers shall be a minimum of 18 years of age and one caregiver in each group shall have a high school diploma. 

·         Directors shall have 18 hours in-service training each year and caregivers 12 hours.

  1. Supervision and Grouping of Children: 

·         Each group shall have adult supervision. 

·         Minimum staffing requirements per group of  adolescents (adult:adolescent ratio) is 1:30. 

·         Swimming and field trips require ratios be doubled.


3.       Equipment, Chapter Section 0520-12-1-.08: 

  • All equipment shall be in good condition and kept clean. 


4.       Program, Chapter Section 0520-12-1-.09:

  1. Schedule and Routines: 

·         Snacks and meals (if full day program) shall be scheduled regularly. 

·         Adolescents shall have time for self-directed activities, as well as, adult-directed activities. 

·         Adolescents shall have choices regarding activities and an opportunity to help plan activities. 

·         Parents shall be informed of any TV or movies or computer games to be shown. 

·         Staff shall monitor computer use. 

·         Sports and physical activity shall be offered, weather permitting. 


  1. Behavior Management and Guidance: 

·         Caregivers shall be knowledgeable of developmentally appropriate adolescent behavior. 

·         Discipline shall be in accordance with rules and policy adopted by the program to define program objectives, student expectations, behavioral code, and discipline procedures.  The rules and policy shall be made available to all participants in an accessible document such as a student handbook.

·         No corporal punishment is allowed. 

·         Good behavior shall be praised and encouraged. 


  1. Educational Activities: 

·         Adolescents shall have opportunities for learning, self expression, and enrichment activities each day. 

·         Adolescents shall receive child abuse awareness and personal safety information, such as "Safe at Last" curriculum. 


5.       Health and Safety, Chapter Section 0520-12-1-.10

  1. Children Health: 

·         Adolescents shall have immunizations in accordance with Chapter 0520-1-2-.08 and current TN law. 

·         Instructions for any adolescent's special health needs shall be documented. 

·         Parents shall be notified if their adolescent is hurt and becomes ill. 

·         All parents shall be notified of any communicable diseases.  

·         Use of medications shall be in accordance with school system's policy for the administration of medications and health care procedures as defined by T.C.A. § 49-5-415 and State Board of Education guidelines. 

·         There is to be no smoking. 


  1. Staff Health:  

·         Staff shall have documentation they are physically and mentally able work with children. 


  1. Safety: 

·         There shall be a staff member present at all times who has current CPR and first aid training. 

·         A first aid kit must be on the premises as well as a first aid chart. 

·         There shall be no firearms on the premises. 

·         There shall be an Emergency Management Plan, a written plan to protect students in event of disaster, such as fire, tornado, earthquake, chemical spills, floods, etc.


6.       Food, Chapter Section 0520-12-1-.11

  1. Nutritional Needs: 

·         Adolescents will receive meals and snacks based on the amount of time spent in the program. 

·         Menus shall be posted. 

·         Special diets and instructions shall be provided in writing. 


7.       Physical Facilities, Chapter Section 0520-12-1-.12: 

  • Programs shall in buildings that are not hazardous or dangerous to children. 
  • All facilities shall have annual fire and health inspections. 
  • All programs shall have a working telephone. 
  • Programs shall have 30 square feet of usable space per adolescent. 
  • Outdoor recreation/sports area shall have 50 square feet per student.


8.       Care of Children with Special Needs, Chapter Section 0520-12-1-.13:

  • When a center serves adolescents with special needs, they are to receive the same care and participate in the same activities, as appropriate. 
  • Adaptations shall be directed towards helping the child become independent and developing self-help skills. 
  • Specialized services provided shall be documented and information shared with appropriate parties.