Laws About Video Surveillance in Childcare Facilities
By Audrey Farley
Updated December 17, 2018
Many daycare facilities are equipped with video surveillance so that parents can view their child from remote locations. Federal law regulates video surveillance in places of employment, and various state laws regulate video surveillance in daycare centers. Laws covering video surveillance in daycare facilities vary by state, but states have the same general provisions.
Private employers are not obliged to protect an individual's right to privacy, unless the state has ruled otherwise. Some states allow private employers to use video surveillance to monitor employees. In these states, daycare facilities may install cameras to monitor employees but they must advise employees of the cameras' presence and location before installation.
Purpose of Surveillance
Generally, video surveillance is acceptable if it's for the purpose of allowing parents to monitor children in the daycare center. It may not be used as a substitute for direct supervision of children. In other words, daycare employees may not rely on cameras to monitor children from another room or part of the facility. State laws regulating the ratio of child caregivers to children still apply.
Notice of Surveillance
If a childcare facility installs video surveillance cameras, all daycare employees, attendants and parents must be informed about the cameras' intended use and the specific location of each camera. Parents are invited to participate in the video surveillance, but the daycare center must maintain adequate internet security measures to protect against unauthorized access to the surveillance system. Measures might include changing passwords, taking filtering measures, reporting any unauthorized access to the system, and taking immediate corrective action in response to the system's abuse.
Allowable Spaces and Inspection
Video surveillance cameras may be installed only in common rooms and spaces, including hallways and play areas. Bathrooms and changing areas where staff would expect privacy may not be equipped with surveillance cameras of any kind. Both public and home-based daycare facilities must give inspectors or other state representatives access to all video surveillance equipment.
Audrey Farley began writing professionally in 2007. She has been featured in various issues of "The Mountain Echo" and "The Messenger." Farley has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Richmond and a Master of Arts in English literature from Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches English composition at a community college.