Fort Worth Youth Program Standards of Care
The following Standards of Care have been adopted by the City Council of the City of Fort Worth, Texas to comply with the amendment to Section 42.041 (b) (14), Human Resources Code as approved by the Texas Legislature during the 74th legislative session.
An elementary-age (ages 5-13) recreation program operated by municipality provided the governing body of the municipality annually adopts standards of care by ordinance after a public hearing for such programs, that such standards are provided to the parents of each program participant, and that the ordinances shall include, at a minimum, staffing ratios, minimum staff qualifications, minimum facility, health and safety standards, and mechanisms for monitoring and enforcing the adopted local standards; and further provided that parents be informed that the program is not licensed by the state and the program may not be advertised as a child-care facility.
The Standards of Care are intended to be minimum standards by which the City of Fort Worth will operate the City's Youth Programs. The programs operated by the City are recreational in nature and are not licensed by the state of Texas as certified day care programs. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has issued an exemption determination certificate to the City of Fort Worth.
- City - City of Fort Worth
- City Council - City Council of the City of Fort Worth, Texas
- Department - Park & Recreation Department of the City of Fort Worth
- Youth Program(s) - City of Fort Worth Youth Programs consisting of the Out of School Time Program, the Camp Fort Worth Program, Mobile Recreation Summer Day Camp, and other non-school day programs that last one consecutive week (five days) or longer.
- Operations Manual - Notebook of policies, procedures, required forms, organizational and programming information relevant to City of Fort Worth Youth Programs.
- Program Manual – Notebook of information given to Program Leaders which includes rosters, attendance sheets, lesson plans, disciplinary action forms, etc.
- Director - City of Fort Worth Department Director or his/her designee.
- Program Coordinator or Coordinator - City of Fort Worth staff who has been assigned administrative responsibility for a City of Fort Worth Youth Program.
- Program Leader – City of Fort Worth full-time, part-time, seasonal staff, temporary staff, contract instructor or volunteer who has been assigned responsibility to implement the City’s Youth Programs.
- Program Site - Area or facilities where City of Fort Worth Youth Programs are held.
- Participant - A youth whose parent(s) or guardian(s) have completed all required registration procedures and are determined to be eligible for a City of Fort Worth Youth Program.
- Parent(s) - This term will be used to represent one or both parent(s) or guardian(s) who have legal custody and authority to enroll their child(ren) in the City of Fort Worth Youth Program.
- Program Staff - Term used to describe the person or persons who have been hired or have volunteered to work for the City of Fort Worth and have been assigned responsibility for managing, administering, or implementing some or all portions of the Fort Worth Youth Programs. This definition also includes Program Coordinator and Program Leader.
- Community Center - One type of facility used to host any program as listed in 1.D.
- The governing body of the Youth Program is the City Council.
- Implementation of the Fort Worth Youth Programs Standards of Care is the responsibility of the Director and Program Staff.
- Youth Programs to which these Standards of Care will apply are the Out of School Time Program, Camp Fort Worth, Mobile Recreation Summer Day Camp, and other non-school day programs that last one consecutive week (five days) or longer.
- Each Program Site will have a current copy of the Standards of Care available for the public and Program Staff.
- Parents of Participants will be given access to a current copy of the Standards of Care prior to the start of the Youth Program, preferably during the registration process.
- Criminal background checks will be conducted on prospective Program Staff. If results of the criminal check indicate that an applicant has been convicted of any of the following offenses, he or she will not be considered for employment:
- A felony or a misdemeanor classified as an offense against a person or family,
- A felony or a misdemeanor classified as public indecency,
- A felony or a misdemeanor violation of any law intended to control the possession or distribution of any controlled substance,
- Any offense involving moral turpitude, or
- Any offense that would potentially put the City of Fort Worth at risk.
- In addition, checks of the Texas Department of Public Safety database for the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program will be conducted on prospective Program Staff. If results of the check indicate that an applicant is a registered sex offender, he or she will not be considered for employment.
III. Fiscal Management
- The program will follow the written policies and procedures of fiscal management set forth by the City of Fort Worth.
- The program will have sound fiscal management and operational oversight of the program.
- The program will have a written budget.
- Financial statements of the program will be reviewed regularly by the Director and adjustments will be made as needed.
I. Program Coordinator (Coordinator) Qualifications
- Coordinators are considered professional staff members of the Department and must have all Program Leader qualifications as outlined in Section III of this document.
- Coordinators must be at least 21 years old. Coordinators should possess the following combination of experience and training:
- Two years of responsible community center service or recreational programming experience.
- Equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in Sports Management, Physical Education, Recreation, or a related field.
- Coordinators must pass a background investigation, including a test for illegal substances.
- Coordinators must have a current certification in First Aid, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) – Adult and Child. These certifications must be from a nationally recognized certifying organization, i.e., American Heart Association or American Red Cross.
- Coordinators must furnish proof of a clear tuberculosis test taken within 12 months prior to their employment date.
- Coordinators must take a tuberculosis test every year and provide proof of a clear tuberculosis test.
II. Coordinator Responsibilities
- Coordinators are responsible for administrating the Youth Program's daily operations in compliance with the adopted Standards of Care.
- Coordinators are responsible for recommending the hiring, supervising, and evaluating of Program Leaders.
- Coordinators are responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating Youth Programs.
III. Program Leader (Leader) Qualifications
- Leaders will be full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary employees of the Parks and Community Services Department or volunteers.
- Volunteers working with participants must be age 16 or older; however, each Program Site will have at least one staff 18 years or older present at all times, and all Leaders must be at least four years older than the participants they are working with.
- Leaders must have a current certification in First Aid, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) – Adult and Child. These certifications must be from a nationally recognized certifying organization, i.e., American Heart Association or American Red Cross.
- Leaders must pass a background investigation, including a test for illegal substances.
- Leader applicants must furnish proof of a clear tuberculosis test that was completed within the 12 months prior to their employment date.
- Leaders must take a tuberculosis test every year and provide proof of a clear tuberculosis test.
- Leaders must have a minimum of 6 months' experience in recreation, education, or youth programs.
- Leaders must possess an accredited High School diploma or GED certificate from the state in which it was acquired.
IV. Leader Responsibilities
- Leaders will be responsible for providing Participants with an environment in which they can feel safe, enjoy wholesome recreation activities, and participate in appropriate social opportunities with their peers.
- Leaders will be responsible to know and adhere to all City, Departmental, and Youth Program standards, policies and procedures that apply to Youth Programs.
- A. Leaders must ensure that Participants are released only to a Parent or an Authorized Person designated by the Parent. If a Parent wishes that their child sign himself in or out, the Parent must sign a release giving said authorization. Any child signing themselves out cannot stay at the facility or on the premises.
- Leaders will be responsible for supervised access to the restrooms for Participants.
- Program Staff will:
- Consistently exhibit competency, good judgment and self-control when working with participants.
- Relate to youth with courtesy, respect, tolerance, and patience.
- Intentionally develop individual relationships with youth, focusing on their developmental needs and building on their unique strengths.
- Create a supportive, caring environment and build self-esteem in every participant.
- Be engaged in activities with the participants.
- Recognize participants for their achievements and participation.
- Clearly communicate behavior expectations.
- Apply rewards and consequences appropriately and consistently for participant behavior.
- Model and reinforce positive behavior and use positive techniques to address negative behavior by participants.
- The Department is responsible to provide training and orientation to Youth Program staff in working with Participants and for specific job responsibilities. Coordinators will provide each Leader with a Program Manual specific to each Youth Program.
- Program Staff must be familiar with the Standards of Care for Youth Programs as adopted by the City Council.
- Program Staff must be familiar with the Youth Program's policies, including discipline, guidance, and release of Participants as outlined in the Program Manual.
- Program Staff will be trained in appropriate procedures to handle emergencies.
- Program Staff will be trained in areas including City, Department, and Youth Program policies and procedures, recreation activities organization, safety issues, program organization, and other areas as required by assigned Youth Program.
- Program Staff will be required to sign an acknowledgment that they received the required training.
- Before a child can become a Youth Program Participant, a parent or guardian must register their child and provide the following information:
- Name, address, and home telephone number;
- Contact names and telephone numbers In case of emergency;
- The names and telephone numbers of people to whom the child can be released;
- A statement of the child's special problems and/or needs;
- Emergency medical authorization with doctor's name and telephone number;
- A signed liability waiver;
- A signed release to participate in water activities;
- Designation of need for reasonable accommodations;
- Signed acknowledgement of program code of conduct; and
- Proof of date of birth,
II. Staff-Participant Ratio
- In a Youth Program, the standard ratio of Participants to Program Staff is 15 to 1, based on average daily attendance. In the event a Leader is unable to report to the Program Site, the Coordinator will assign a replacement.
- Ratios may be adjusted to provide adequate supervision during higher risk activities, such as field trips, swimming, etc.
- Each Participant will have a Program Staff who is responsible for him or her and who is aware of details of the Participant's habits, interests and any special needs as identified by the Participant's Parents during the registration process.
III. Special Needs
- The program is aware of, records, and informs staff of special needs of Participants.
- Every reasonable accommodation will be made to address Participants with special needs.
- Participants with special needs requiring personal assistance, i.e., feeding, changing of clothes, and using the restroom, must provide an attendant (18 years of age or older) for the duration of the program. Program Staff will not provide personal assistance. The attendant will be admitted to the program free of charge. Any additional fees must be paid by the personal attendant. With appropriate notice, accessible vehicles will be made available for transportation to authorized field trips.
I. The program provides a safe, healthy, and age appropriate environment for all participants. The program provides a well-rounded variety of activities and opportunities that support the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth and development of all participants.
- The program establishes and follows a schedule that is known to Program Staff, Participants, and Parents.
- The daily schedule will be available for Program Staff, Participants, and Parents.
- The daily schedule will be flexible enough to provide adaptability, but structured enough to provide predictability for the Participants.
- Transitions will be programmed into the schedule and will be orderly, efficient, and minimal in duration.
- Screen time (movies, video games, TV, computers) will not exceed two (2) hours daily.
- There will be a written activity plan anytime children are in care for over five (5) hours.
- A rest time will be provided when children are in care for over five (5) hours.
- The program schedule will provide intentional opportunities for Participants to be meaningfully involved in program planning, implementation, data collection, and evaluation. Participant feedback will be incorporated into the program when possible.
- Program Staff will attempt to provide indoor and outdoor time periods to include:
- Alternating active and passive activities,
- An appropriate amount of time for all activities;
- Opportunity for individual, small and large group activities, and
- Outdoor time each day as weather permits based upon space availability and weather conditions.
- Participants are provided with a variety of engagement strategies, such as:
- Self-directed projects;
- Individual, small group, and large group activities;
- Short and long term projects;
- Discovery learning;
- Hands-on projects;
- Experiential activities that promote creativity and self-expression;
- Peer mentoring opportunities;
- Participant-led activities: and
- Opportunities for participants to make formal presentations.
III. Field Trips & Transportation
- Program Staff will be attentive and considerate of the Participant's safety on field trips and during any transportation provided by the Youth Program.
- During field trips, Program Staff will have authorization for emergency medical care and emergency contact information for each Participant.
- Program Staff will have a written list of the Participants in their group and must check the roll frequently, specifically before departure to and from destination.
- Program Staff will have first aid supplies.
- Before a Participant can be transported to and from City sponsored activities, a field trip release, located in the registration packet, must be completed by the Parent.
- First aid supplies will be available in all Youth Program vehicles that transport Participants.
- There will be at least one staff member in the vehicle that is certified in CPR, First Aid, and AED.
- All vehicles used for transporting Participants will have a 6-BC portable fire extinguisher installed in the passenger compartment of the vehicle, accessible to the adult occupants.
- Seatbelts will be worn if provided.
- Participants will be oriented to expected behavior and safety rules.
- Participants will be given stickers or wristbands with the location’s name and phone number to be worn at all times while on a field trip.
- According to the Texas Occupant Restraint Law, every child younger than 8 years of age, unless the child is taller than four feet, nine inches, must be properly secured in a federally approved safety seat, in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat system, when riding in vehicles that carry 15 or less passengers. Safety seats will be provided.
- Where available, transportation will be provided for Participants with special needs. See page 6, III. Special Needs.
IV. Participant Pick Up & Drop Off
- A completed and signed Pick-Up Authorization Form must be on file for each Participant.
- These forms must be updated each year.
- A. The original signer of the Pick-Up Authorization Form may contact the center in person to add a new Authorized Person, with written notification. The original signer may also contact the center via telephone and make changes verbally using the safety word on the Pick-Up Authorization Form.
- Participants must only be signed out by an Authorized Person listed on the Pick-Up Authorization Form. One staff person must monitor the sign in/out duties each day.
- Authorized Persons must present picture ID to pick up a Participant.
- A. Authorized persons must be 18 or older unless the person is 16 or older and a sibling of the Participant.
- Sign in/sign out sheets will be kept by the Program Site for at least three months after the Youth Program has ended.
- Participants may be signed out by a custodial parent, unless court paperwork is given to Program Staff.
- Parents may sign a form allowing their child to walk home at the end of the program.
- Participants must be picked up by the end of the assigned Youth Program. If a child is picked up after the end of the program, a late fee will be assessed. If a child has not been picked up within thirty (30) minutes after the program has ended, the police will be called.
- If an Authorized Person attempts to pick up a Participant while appearing intoxicated, staff will ask if there is another person who can pick up the Participant.
- If any unauthorized person attempts to pick up a child, staff should:
- Call the Program Coordinator.
- Politely inform the person that they do not have permission to release the child to them.
- Ask the person to leave.
- Move the Participant at risk to another room or area.
- Have another Program Staff in the pick-up area.
- The Coordinator should call the original Authorized Person to inform them of the unauthorized pick up attempt.
- If necessary, Program Staff should call 911.
- Program Staff will execute discipline and guidance in a consistent manner based on the best interests of Participants.
- There will be no cruel treatment or harsh punishment (physical or verbal abuse). Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Using physical punishment or any action administered to the body such as, but not limited to rough handling, or forcing child(ren) to assume an uncomfortable position,
- Restraining movement by tying, enclosing in a confined space, shaking, or using exercise as punishment.
- Being verbally abusive, including, but not limited to, threats, belittling remarks, humiliation, embarrassment, or frightening a child.
- Giving any child the authority to punish another child.
- Placing a child out of visual/hearing range, in the dark, or in an unventilated area.
- Punishing a child for a toileting accident.
- Taunting a child by or any other form of jeering.
- Giving preferential attention to any child over another child.
- Program Staff will use brief, supervised, separation (time out) from the group, if necessary.
- As necessary, Program Staff will initiate discipline reports to the Parents of Participants. Parents will be asked to sign Participant discipline reports to indicate they have been advised about specific problems or incidents.
- A sufficient number and/or severe nature of discipline report(s), as detailed by the Disciplinary Action Policy in the Program and Operations Manuals, may result in a Participant being suspended from the Youth Program immediately. If a Participant is suspended from the program, an Authorized Person must pick up the Participant within one hour. If the Participant is not picked up, the police will be called.
- Participants will be removed from the Program Site as soon as possible in instances of danger to other Participants or Program Staff. This includes, but is not limited to, continuous disruption of the Youth Program, inappropriate sexual behavior, bullying, hitting or biting other Participants or Program Staff and damage to any City property.
- Participants are expected to abide by program rules that include, but are not limited to:
- Showing respect to all Participants and Program Staff.
- Bullying of any form (cyber, physical, verbal, etc.).
- Refraining from using abusive or foul language.
- Refraining from causing bodily harm to self, other Participants, or Program Staff.
- Refraining from any inappropriate touching.
- Bringing any toys, electronics, etc. to the Youth Program.
- Refraining from roughhousing in any manner.
- Using social media sites during camp hours.
- Refraining from taking photographs of any kind.
- Respecting all equipment, supplies, and facilities.
- Cleaning up after themselves at all times.
- Respecting the property of other Participants.
- Listening to and taking direction from all Program Staff.
- Staying within the physical boundaries of the Program Site at all times, unless with a Program Staff or Parent.
- The Coordinator of each Youth Program will perform a monthly inspection of the facility to maintain compliance with the Standards of Care.
- Inspection reports will be sent to the Director for review and kept on record for at least two years.
- The Director will review the report and establish deadlines and criteria for compliance with the Standards of Care.
- The Director will make visual inspections of the Youth Program based on the following schedule:
- Each After School Program Site will be inspected bi-monthly. This may be scheduled or unscheduled.
- Camp Fort Worth and Mobile Recreation Summer Day Camp Sites will be inspected twice during the summer.
- The other non-school day Youth Programs will be inspected once during the school breaks.
- Complaints regarding enforcement of the Standards of Care will be directed to the Coordinator. The Coordinator will be responsible for taking the necessary steps to resolve the problems. The Coordinator will record complaints regarding enforcement of the Standards of Care and their resolution. The Director will address serious complaints regarding enforcement of the Standards of Care and the complaints and resolutions will be noted.
- The Director will make an annual report to the Park Board on the overall status of the Youth Programs and their operation relative to compliance with the adopted Standards of Care.
II. Program Area
- The Youth Program’s indoor space (when applicable) meets the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive needs of Participants.
- The Youth Program’s outdoor space (when applicable) is large enough, appropriately equipped, and safe to allow Participants to be active and independent.
- The Youth Program’s space meets the needs related to planning, activities, and storage.
- Buildings, grounds, and equipment on the Program Site are regularly inspected, cleaned, repaired, and maintained to protect Participants’ health.
Health & Safety
- Illness or Injury
- A Participant who is considered to be a health or safety concern to other Participants or Program Staff will not be admitted to the Youth Program.
- Illnesses and injuries will be handled in a manner to protect the health of all Participants and Program Staff. Participants having a temporal fever over 100 degrees will not be allowed back into the Youth Program for 24 hours.
- Program Staff will follow emergency procedures for injured Participants or for Participants with symptoms of an acute illness.
- In the event of an emergency and/or serious accident, Parents will be notified immediately. If necessary, the local ambulance service will transport the Participant to the nearest hospital.
- In the case of a minor accident or injury (bumps and bruises), the Program Staff will administer first aid, monitor the Participant, and notify the Parents at pick-up.
- Parents will be notified if a child is injured in a way that necessitates emergency care.
- Program Staff will follow the recommendations of the Texas Department of State Health Services concerning the admission or readmission of any Participant after a communicable disease, and a doctor’s note will be required allowing Participant’s readmission to the program.
- If a Participant becomes sick while in the program, the Parent or Authorized Person(s) must contact staff within one hour to arrange pick up. If no contact is made within one hour after initial contact by staff, the police will be notified.
- Program Staff will administer medication subject to the following conditions:
- Parents must complete, sign, and submit Authorization to Administer Medication detailing medication name(s), time(s) to be administered, and dosage(s) for youth enrolled in program lasting more than three (3) hours. The release will include a hold harmless clause to protect the City.
- Prescription medications are in the original containers labeled with the Participant's name, date, directions, and the physician's name. The prescribing physician must provide written guidelines. Program Staff will administer the medication only as stated on the label. Program Staff will not administer medication after the expiration date.
- Non-prescription medications are labeled with the Participant's name and the date the medication was brought to the Youth Program. Non-prescription medication must be in the original container. Program Staff will administer medication only according to label directions and with written parental permission.
- Except in instances where an accommodation may be necessary under the ADA, Program Staff will be limited to dispensing and administering those medications that do not require special knowledge, skills, or training. Medication will be properly disposed of at the end of the program.
- Program Staff will ensure medications are inaccessible to Participants. If necessary, medications will be kept in the refrigerator.
- A Medication Record Form will be kept by the Coordinator detailing when medication was administered.
- Program Staff will supervise Participants to ensure their safety.
- Program Staff will inspect Program Sites daily checking for sanitation and safety concerns that might affect the health and safety of Participants.
- Program Site equipment and supplies will be safe for Participants use.
- Program Staff will have first aid supplies available at each Program Site in a designated location, during transportation, and for the duration of any off-site activity.
- The Youth Program will ensure that all Program Staff working with participants are trained in CPR, First, and AED.
- Participants will have access to clean drinking water at all times.
- Program Site air conditioners, electric fans, and heaters will be mounted out of Participant's reach or have safeguards that keep Participants from being injured.
- Program Site porches and platforms more than 30 inches above the ground will be equipped with railings with the exception of performance stages.
- Each Youth Program will have an Emergency Operations Manual that will be reviewed with all Program Staff.
- When applicable, staff will follow directives of the Emergency Management Office.
- In case of fire, danger of fire, explosion, or other emergency, Program Staff’s first priority is to evacuate the Participants to a pre-designated safe area.
- The Program Site will have an annual fire inspection by the local Fire Marshall, and the resulting report will detail any safety concerns observed. The report will be forwarded to the Director who will review it and enforce the deadline and criteria for compliance.
- Each Program Site will have at least one fire extinguisher approved by the Fire Marshall readily available to all Program Staff. The Coordinator will inspect the fire extinguisher monthly. All Program Staff will be trained in the proper use of the fire extinguisher.
- Fire drills will be initiated at Program Sites based on the following schedule.
- After School Program - Once every three months
- Other Youth Programs - Once during each program
- Tornado warning procedures will be reviewed will all Program Staff during orientation.
- Tornado drills will be initiated twice yearly: once during the spring and once during the fall.
- Each remote Program Site will have a cell phone or two-way radio to allow the Program Site to be contacted by Program Staff. Each Program Site will have access to a telephone for use in contacting Program Staff or making emergency telephone calls. At each Program Site the Coordinator will post the following telephone numbers adjacent to a telephone accessible to all Program Staff:
- City of Fort Worth ambulance or emergency medical services
- City of Fort Worth Police Department
- City of Fort Worth Fire Department
- Parks and Community Services Department Administrative Office
- Telephone numbers and address for the Program Site itself
- Telephone number of Coordinator’s office
- Program participants' emergency contact information
- Poison Control
- The program will follow the Texas Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Guidelines when meals are provided by the City of Fort Worth Nutrition Program. Additionally, in keeping with Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards, the program will:
- Serve whole grain-rich products.
- Provide plain potable water at all times at no cost to youth and staff.
- Serve plain low-fat milk, plain or flavored nonfat milk or milk alternative limited to 8 fluid ounces per day for elementary school students and 12 fluid ounces per day for middle and high school students.
- Serve only 100% fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners or 100% juice diluted with water with no added sweeteners.
- Serve only non-caffeinated beverages.
- Special snacks may be provided during the program. Parents must note any food allergies on Participant’s registration form.
VI. Suspected Abuse
- Program Staff will report suspected child abuse to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, in accordance with the Texas Family Code, telephone number, 1-800-252-5400 or filing a report at https://www.txabusehotline.org/Login/WebSite_UI/Report-anon.aspx.
- Program Staff will receive basic training related to child abuse prevention and how to report suspected abuse.
VII. Toilet Facilities
- The Program Site will have toilets located and equipped so Participants can use them independently and Program Staff can monitor as needed.
- There will be one toilet for every 20 Participants. Urinals may be counted in the ratio of toilets to Participants, but will not exceed 50% of the total number of toilets.
- An adequate number of lavatories will be provided.
- The indoor Program Sites must have adequate light, ventilation, air conditioning and heat.
- The Program Site will have an adequate supply of water meeting the Texas Department of State Health standards for drinking water. Water will be supplied to the Participants in a safe and sanitary manner.
- All waste matters will be kept in a leak-proof, covered container.
- Program Staff will remove garbage from Program Sites daily.
Health Fair at Como Community Center: 9 a.m. Feb. 24, 2018; Como Community Center, 4900 Horne St.
Black History Program at MLK Jr. Community Center: 4:30 p.m. Feb. 26, 2018; Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 5565 Truman Drive.
Grand Opening: Victory Forest Community Center: 10 a.m. March 3, 2018; Victory Forest Community Center, 3427 Hemphill St.
4200 S. Freeway, Suite 2200
Fort Worth, TX 76115
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