Ethical Issues for Day Cares

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Day-care centers and the professionals who work there fall under intense scrutiny from almost everyone. This is primarily because the protection of children is so important. Day-care providers should follow a number of ethical rules and principles, including respect, integrity and honesty. The children they care for and the parents of those children also should follow these ethical principles.


Day-care providers come to work every day knowing that the children who are under their care are completely dependent on them. They also need to be able to gauge a parent’s moods and respond cheerfully and respectfully. The day-care center and its providers are in a partnership with the parent, but they are also expected to defer to a parent’s wishes. For example, if a parent requests that the center not celebrate her child’s birthday because of a particular custom or tradition, the day-care center must honor that request.


Sometimes the day-care provider's own values might conflict with those of the parent and family. In this case, the day-care provider should show respect by listening to what the parent has to say. If he still has a problem with the request, he should talk with his supervisor. If the provider and parents cannot reach an agreement, they can seek arbitration or mediation from an outside source. The provider should carefully examine his center's code of ethics to make sure he is meeting his professional responsibility to advocate for the parent and child. In the end, everyone involved should choose the solution that is the least disruptive to the child, the family and the other children.

Transparency Needed

Day-care centers should have regular family nights or open house get-together evenings where families can see the day-care space or classroom. This helps parents understand what goes on in the center, and it helps create trust. The center also should include parents as often as possible in classroom activities. A day care's objectives should be transparent.

Expert Insight

According to the North American Child and Youth Professionals, day-care centers should adopt a code of ethics that includes competency, physical and emotional well-being on the part of the providers and a sense of responsibility to the parents and children. The center and its professionals should protect the children from harm. They also should not discriminate in any way.


Day-care workers deserve respect. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, child care workers and day-care providers have a high turnover rate because they work long hours for low wages. They are on their feet most of the day, which is physically taxing. In addition, keeping children and their parents content, maintaining a professional demeanor at all times and being under scrutiny can be emotionally draining.