Please note: families are varied and the use of the word Parent(s) refers to the adult(s) who are responsible for the child(ren).
Wisconsin Youth Company (Wisconsin Youth) provides progressive child guidance that is designed to resolve or eliminate behaviors that are not safe or compromise an inclusive caring environment for children and staff. The procedure is based on the individual needs of each child in order for the child to succeed and thrive within the program.
Wisconsin Youth supports quality programming through effective child guidance beginning with developmentally appropriate and exciting activities and choices, proper staff-to-child ratios and consistent supervision, positive modeling and reinforcement of appropriate behavior, and environments designed to be fun and educationally enriching.
Staff Role in Child Guidance
Wisconsin Youth encourages the development of self-control, self-esteem and respect for the rights of others. Staff members serve as examples in their treatment of others and maintain self-control and respect when guiding or helping to support resolution of conflict. The staff are trained in methods of group management, conflict resolution and normal child developmental characteristics. When behaviors occur that compromise the positive community of program, the Parents may be called and asked to pick up the child immediately.
Progressive Guidance Procedures
Communication with Parents is critical to children’s success. When staff observe inappropriate behavior, they are instructed to document the situation, and concerns are communicated to parents.
Possible strategies are determined by taking into consideration the child’s age, maturity, safety and protection of other participants. Staff training’s provide guidance in the use of these strategies. Strategies could include:
- Reconsideration and investigation: ask questions
- Allowance for natural consequences
- Modification of the environment
- Encouragement of positive behaviors
- Focusing responsibility for choices and behavior on the child
- Use of “I” statements to convey expectations
- Clarification of the rule or message to provide rationale
- Redirection or offering a choice
- Active listening
- Providing direction
- Loss of a privilege
- ‘Taking a break’ not to exceed five minutes
- Development of a behavior plan
- Immediate Parent pick-up
If additional guidance is necessary, the program manager reviews the situation and may recommend additional actions, including but not limited to:
- Referral to additional resources that may support family
- Providing training and information on additional behavior management techniques
- Soliciting community and school resources (with prior parental permission)
- Parent meeting to create an agreed upon plan for continued behavior modification
- Short-term suspension from program and immediate parent pick-up
In the event a behavior plan is unsuccessful, the program manager will consult with the program director to determine further actions which may include:
- Continued communication with Parents
- Revision of a behavior plan
- Short-term suspension from the program of two or three days
- Reduction or change in attendance or transferring attendance to another site
- Termination of enrollment (refer to termination procedure)
Wisconsin Youth believes that clear and meaningful consequences may be necessary when redirection strategies are not successful. The following strategies or threats of using these strategies are prohibited:
- Actions that are humiliating or frightening to children
- Corporal punishment (spanking, hitting, shaking, etc.)
- Verbal abuse or any derogatory remarks made about a child or his/her family
- Physical restraint (except in case of immediate danger to themselves or others)
- The withholding of meals or snacks, or remarks alluding to such actions
- Allowing children to have disciplinary power over other children
- Taking a break of more than five minutes
Enrollment Termination Procedures
Enrollment may be terminated for the following reasons if attempts fail to resolve or eliminate the actionable problem:
- A child who presents needs that cannot be satisfactorily met within the constraints of the program, due to harmful behavior. Immediate termination results from violent, unsafe behavior where child is a danger to self, staff or other children in the program.
- Continual two or more payments behind.
- Repeated early drop-off and/or late pick-up of a child or consistent failure to follow Wisconsin Youth policies.
- Suspended short-term enrollment – if a child is suspended by Wisconsin Youth, parents may be charged.
- Repeated lack of communication about the child’s daily schedule i.e. – absences due to activities or illness are consistently not reported to attendance message line.
When termination of enrollment occurs, Parents will be notified by phone and through written communication of the effective date when the child will no longer be able to attend the program. Parents can appeal the decision to terminate their child’s enrollment through written request to the executive director. Parents with an unresolved appeal may contact the Board of Directors. Please see our website for more information.
Staff and Child Involvement Outside of Program
We hire and train staff for our programs who provide a safe and nurturing experience for children. Your child will develop relationships with staff at our programs and may wish to continue contact with them outside of our programs. Wisconsin Youth does not condone nor encourage contact between children and staff after program or outside of program. The built-in structure and safeguards that are available in the licensed program environment may not be present. This includes contact via email, text messages, instant messaging, cell phone, social media, personal websites or blogs. We also recommend that you not invite program staff to join your family for social activities. Parents cannot name a staff member as an authorized pick-up person for their child, even with Parent permission.