Parent Handbook - South Sound YMCA

Parent Handbook

We nurture the potential of every child in our care

I hope you and your child find a sense of belonging in our YMCA family. Please review this parent guide, which is designed to answer your questions and outline our policies. You will be asked, at the time of registration, to sign that you have been informed of where to find these policies and accept them as defined.

We are proud to provide high quality, reliable, and convenient care to families at 29 sites around the South Sound. Over 1,000 children each day build relationships, achieve goals and have FUN in our programs.

In the Y, we believe in the power of community. I invite you to visit your child’s site, talk with staff, and reach out to other parents throughout the year. Let us know what you love and how we can continue to improve your experience.

Thank you for being part of our community!

Let us know how we can help!

P: 360.918.0400


YMCA before and after school programs serve children from age 5-12 in an enriching child-focused, child-directed environment that promotes the exploration of their interests and talents. The Y focuses programming on research-based approaches to social-emotional growth and development in children. Our programs work closely with area school districts to support children’s achievement.

The Y is committed to furthering the values of child growth and development, therefore we will:

  • Ensure the safety and health of all participants and provide a responsive and caring environment.
  • Ensure that our programs reflect the latest knowledge of child development.
  • Help children learn to exist cooperatively to promote self-esteem and respect for individual differences.
  • Support and respect families in nurturing and guiding children.
  • Maintain high standards of personal conduct.
  • Serve as role models for children and families in personal health and wellness.

We are glad you have chosen to register for Y Care. Please be aware of the following policies regarding the use of YMCA before and after school care:

  1. There is a $50 annual registration fee (due at the time of registration) that must accompany completed enrollment paperwork.
  2. A completed copy of your child’s immunization records on the state-mandated immunization form is required for enrollment in the program.
  3. You are required to provide us with the necessary information to draft your monthly childcare fee from either a bank account or credit card. September’s fees will be drafted on the first day of school, or the first day of school, and the 15th, if received before August 26th. If received after September’s payment will be due at the time of registration.
  4. There is a $20 late fee should your monthly payment be made after the due date.
  5. Two weeks' notice is required for any changes of schedule including disenrollment. We reserve the right to charge for those two weeks if no notice is provided. Communication regarding schedule, account, or disenrollment must be completed online and not at your child’s school location.
  6. You must read and adhere to the policies stated within the Parent/Guardian Agreement provided during online registration.

Participants in YMCA programs must have a current membership at all times. Membership options include:

Facility Membership – Entitles member to facility usage, priority registration and program discounts. Costs vary based on membership types which can include family or child-only options. As a facility member, you receive a $10-40 discount on childcare each month.

Program Membership – Entitles member to participate in YMCA programs. This membership is free but membership forms must be completed.


Y Care attempts to provide schedule options to support all families. The following schedule options are available:

Full Time Care – Before and after school.

Part Time Care – Up to three mornings and three afternoons per week.

Mornings Only – Any attendance before school.

Afternoons Only – Any attendance after school.

Drop-In Care is also available, with 24-hour notice, for those that only need the program occasionally or in addition to their registered schedule. Drop-in care is on a space available basis. Hourly care is not available.

All participants are required to make their payment by monthly draft. We can draft via checking/savings account or debit/credit card.

In families where more than one party will be paying the monthly tuition, registration needs to be completed and payment arrangements made with Accounts Receivable Specialist. The registering party is responsible for the payment of childcare fees.

Financial Assistance is made possible by the South Sound YMCA Annual Campaign. Financial Assistance is provided to individuals, children, and families on a need basis and allows access to all programs, activities, and facilities at the YMCA. Anyone is eligible to apply for Financial Assistance and awards are based on a sliding scale that considers household size and income. If we can serve you or your family in this way, please contact us.

All third-party subsidies must be confirmed before registration. A current childcare authorization must be on file at the time of registration. If you are unsure whether we have a copy of your current authorization, please contact us.

Families whose tuition is subsidized by a third party are responsible for the full cost of care if coverage is denied, expires, or if the child is in care for more hours than authorized.

You will be notified by your third-party organization regarding any changes or lapses in care prior to the changes taking effect. It is your responsibility to communicate with the YMCA regarding these changes.

Assistance from DCYF state subsidy, Child Care Aware® or other third party provider must provide an authorized notice to the Childcare Department before registering a child for care. If authorization confirmation is not provided to the South Sound YMCA Childcare Department before care begins, parent/guardian will be responsible for the full fee.

Due to the right of privacy, any person requesting account history, payment history, or attendance information must be listed on the online account, the registration paperwork, or have a letter of release from the primary account holder. All requests must be made in writing. Any costs incurred by the Y in processing a request will be charged to the requesting party and will need to be paid prior to the release of the information. The YMCA reserves the right to refuse requests not accompanied by a court order.

All records for children in the program will be kept in a confidential manner either at the childcare site or the Youth and Community Development Office. Any parent or guardian is allowed to access these records at any time except as stated above.

Y Care provides a drop-in care option to support families that only need care occasionally. Drop-in care is more expensive than regularly scheduled care because of the intermittent nature of its use.

  • Participants in drop-in care follow the same registration procedures as participants with a regular schedule except they are not required to comply with procedures for drafting payments.
  • Drop-in care is not guaranteed and is only available depending on space availability. Families must call the Y Care site at least 24 hours in advance of the date they desire to use care and must receive confirmation from the site to utilize care.
  • The daily rate (as provided on the website) will be automatically drafted from the designated payment method on the 15th of the following month.

Should your childcare needs change during the school year, the YMCA will endeavor to accommodate your new schedule. Credits and refunds will only be given with the approval of the accounting staff.

  • All changes must be submitted at least two weeks in advance.
  • Information about accounts, payments, and schedules communicated to on-site staff at your school will not be honored.
  • A schedule change can only be applied to one or more months of care.
  • Only three changes are permitted each school-year.

All cancellations must be made in writing by completing the Schedule Change Form available online.

The Youth and Community Department must approve all refund requests. Refunds will be reviewed and processed within 7-11 business days and are available in the form of system credits in the computer, check, or debit/credit card. A debit/credit card refund is only available if the original payment was made with the debit/credit card. Please allow 7 business days for refunds to show back into account. A $5 processing fee will be applied to all check refunds. System credits expire one year from the date issued and unclaimed amounts will be considered a donation to the South Sound YMCA.


Monthly rates for Y Care are based on the number of days school is in session and averaged over the 10 months of the school year, this ensures a consistent monthly fee. Monthly program fees are not adjusted for break weeks: i.e. winter break, spring break and summer break, shorter months, inclement weather, non-student days, or for sick days and suspensions. Additional fees may apply for half days/early release. YMCA programs are closed on national holidays.

Rates can be found on our Y Care webpage by clicking on your child's school district.


As a licensed program by the Washington State Department of Child, Youth and Families, all employees are required to meet the following:

  • 30 hours of STARS (child care basics training for Washington State) training
  • 10 hours of annual continuing education yearly
  • Department of Child, Youth and Families Orientation (Site Directors only)
  • CPR/First Aid Certification
  • Blood-borne Pathogens/HIV/AIDS Training
  • Child Abuse Prevention Training

All staff are subject to criminal background checks and extensive reference verifications.

Our programs are designed based on the latest research in child development with numerous stations, allowing children to choose what they want to do each day. These stations might include: Creative Arts, Construction, Music, Science/STEM, Performing Arts, Sports & Recreation, Homework/Education, and Reading.

When these interest areas are inviting spaces that children like and want to do, children feel valued, acknowledged, and respected. Children who play an active role in the room design, selection of materials, and planning of activities develop leadership skills, a sense of belonging, and personal responsibility.

The South Sound YMCA before and after school program curriculum:

  • Is designed to support children’s interests and learning.
  • Promotes children’s growth and development through exploration that are both flexible and interesting in an age-appropriate manner.
  • Is culturally sensitive and inclusive.
  • Encourages children’s choices and develops their sense of belonging in the program.

The South Sound YMCA prohibits any form of discrimination based on cultural/religious/holiday preferences. Multicultural activities occur throughout the year, rather than only during holidays. Staff incorporates activities that teach kids about a variety of cultures with a focus on appreciation of diversity.

Each site has a posted daily schedule to guide the flow of activities at the site. This schedule is a guideline and should not be too rigid to allow flexibility based on children’s interests. Components for a typical daily schedule include:

Morning Schedule:

  • Morning Snack
  • Physical Activity
  • Enrichment Activity
  • Community Circle

Afternoon Schedule:

  • Afternoon Snack
  • Community Circle
  • Academic Support
  • Group Games
  • Physical Activity
  • Clean Up

Parents are responsible for checking children into care by signing in and out at their child's Y Care site.

  • Once children are checked into YMCA Child Care they are not permitted to leave the site without authorization. Children are also not permitted to remain at the program site once they are signed out.
  • Staff will conduct identification checks as needed.
  • Anyone picking up a child must be on the authorized pick-up list, provide photo identification upon request, and be at least 16 years old. Under no circumstances will a child be allowed to leave the program with an unauthorized person.
  • If anyone authorized to pick up a child appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol staff may call law enforcement or CPS and may refuse to release the child(ren).
  • Employees are not allowed to sign out a child, transport them in their personal vehicles, or be an emergency contact for a child unless there is a prior relationship and permission is obtained from the Child Development Director in advance.

In respect of YMCA staff, children must be picked up from the site by 6:00 pm. If an emergency keeps you from picking your child up by 6:00 pm, please contact the site immediately and, if possible, contact a person on your authorized pick-up list. If you have not picked up your child by 6:00 pm, site staff will attempt to contact you or make arrangements with someone on your authorized pick-up list to pick your child up from the program. In the case of late pick-ups:

  • The first time: A late fee of $15 will be charged to your account. If your child is not picked up from the site by 6:30 pm local law enforcement will be called to help locate you.
  • Any consecutive late pick-ups: A late fee of $45 will be charged to your account for each occurrence. If your child is not picked up from the site by 6:30 pm local law enforcement will be called to help locate you.

Parents/Guardians must supply the YMCA with a copy of any court orders if we are expected or required to honor stipulations within them.

If an accident occurs in our care, staff will communicate to parent/guardians at the time of pick up. Staff caring for the child will complete a written report of any accident considered serious, detailing the first aid provided. If the accident involves a head injury, parent/guardians will be notified as soon as possible. If emergency treatment is warranted, the staff will immediately notify parents and the child will be transported by ambulance along with a staff member to the nearest medical facility specified by the parent in the child file.

All YMCA staff are prepared and trained to activate emergency procedures in the event of severe weather, fire, or other conditions that require building evacuation or other immediate safety measures. Each program location has a disaster emergency plan, please ask your YMCA staff if you would like to obtain a copy.

For the health and safety of all participants, please keep children at home when ill. In the event that children are exposed to a communicable disease while they are in Y Care, staff will:

  • Make efforts to comfort your child away from the rest of the group.
  • Contact parents/guardians to inform them of the situation.
  • Make a judgment regarding whether the child needs to immediately be picked up.

The South Sound YMCA disaster plan is dedicated to keeping children safe in case of emergencies. A copy of this plan is available for your review at your child’s Y Care site.

In some cases, local communication is more difficult than out-of-area communication during an emergency. For this reason, the Spokane Valley YMCA will serve as a contact for parents to get information regarding our before and after school programs. Should it be necessary, South Sound YMCA management will update the Spokane Valley YMCA member services staff with information regarding our programming. You can reach the Spokane Valley YMCA at 509.777.9622

The philosophy of the program is based on the concept of positive behavior guidance. Children are taught to consider the effect their actions may have on others, which promotes cooperation and responsibility. Staff reinforce values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.

Our behavior management and discipline:

  • Respects developmental differences.
  • Supports children’s growth in social behavior, self-control, and respect for others.
  • Is fair, reasonable, and consistent.

YMCA staff shall not administer cruel, unusual, hazardous, frightening, or humiliating discipline. Parents may not request that staff administer any sort of corporal punishment as a discipline method.

Discipline steps taken by staff may include:

  • Verbal warning, redirection, loss of privileges.
  • Communication with parents.
  • Temporary suspension, written individual plan of success.
  • Permanent suspension.

The South Sound YMCA strives to provide a safe place for all. In the interest of the safety and well-being of all, the YMCA prohibits violence in areas under the YMCA’s control. The YMCA will, as necessary, take disciplinary or legal action, up to and including termination of services, for violations of this policy.

The YMCA cooperates in every way with the school districts and law enforcement agencies and consequences support districts’ policies.

Immediate suspension from the program may occur and could be permanent.

Violence includes, but is not limited to:

  • Acts of physical assault
  • Acts that threaten physical assault
  • Acts of intimidation
  • Acts indicating the potential for violence, including throwing objects, using violent language, and brandishing weapons
  • Acts that endanger the safety of others
  • Acts of destruction of property
  • Any substantial threat to destroy property
  • Acts include but are not limited to physical or verbal behavior
  • Acts of threatening to bring weapons, such as a knife or gun

Any person harmed or in fear of imminent harm should contact a YMCA staff person immediately.

Violations of this policy must be reported to South Sound YMCA management staff. Everyone is encouraged to report any violations of this policy in confidentiality, without fear of any reprisals.

All children are provided a daily, nutritional, afternoon snack. Most of our programs have food prepared and provided for our children by the foodservice professionals at the schools in which the program resides. Should a family choose to provide supplementary snacks, healthy options are encouraged. Candy or soda products are not permitted. Lunch is not provided by the program on half days or non-school days, so please be sure to provide your child with a healthy and adequate lunch that does not require refrigeration or microwave preparation. If a child has a severe food allergy, staff reserve the right to prohibit other children at the site from bringing food-related to the allergy.

If your child has a condition or disability that requires special dietary accommodation, please contact your Program Director.

The South Sound YMCA has joined national partners in focusing on developing healthy habits in kids, families, and communities. We are committed to adopting the Y-USA standards for healthy eating and physical activity in our early learning and after-school programs. These standards include things such as:

  • Making sure water is always accessible and available to children.
  • The drinks provided will always be low-fat and unsweetened.
  • The program never serves or provides fried food.
  • Offer only whole grain.
  • Provide foods that don’t list sugar as one of the first three ingredients.
  • Provide at least 30 minutes of physical activity for every half-day of programming.
  • Limit screen time to 30 minutes or less per day.

The South Sound YMCA disaster plan is dedicated to keeping children safe in case of emergencies. A copy of this plan is available for your review at your child’s Y Care site.

In some cases, local communication is more difficult than out-of-area communication during an emergency. For this reason, the Spokane Valley YMCA will serve as a contact for parents to get information regarding our before and after school programs. Should it be necessary, South Sound YMCA management will update the Spokane Valley YMCA member services staff with information regarding our programming. You can reach the Spokane Valley YMCA at 509.777.9622

  • If a child requires any self-administered medication while at Y-Care, parents must complete a medical authorization form prior to when the medication must be given. This form must identify specific instructions for staff regarding the use of the medication.
  • Parents/guardians are required to bring the medication directly to the Site Director in the original container labeled with the child’s name, date, physician’s name, and directions for administering of the medication.
  • Emergency medication such as Epi-Pens or inhalers must be accompanied by an individual health plan and must be brought directly to the Site Director.

Parent/guardian(s) should not hesitate to report actions of YMCA staff that may be perceived as inappropriate. All concerns are thoroughly investigated. Child Protective Service or the Department of Children, Youth, and Families are contacted if warranted. The YMCA has a special concern about incidents of reported child abuse. YMCA staff are mandated by state law to report any suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities. Child Protective Services must be notified within 48 hours. Please do not implement any verbal and/or physical punishment towards a child that could be misinterpreted in front of YMCA staff and participants.

It is important for parents to discuss with children how important it is to communicate situations that make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe. To make sure your child remains safe outside of the YMCA’s supervision and to protect our staff members, we request that you do not ask a YMCA staff member to baby-sit, host sleepovers, or spend one-on-one time with your child outside of YMCA programs.

The Y is committed to maintaining an alcohol and drug-free environment. This is particularly important since employees are responsible for the safety and welfare of children. Therefore, the Y prohibits the use, manufacture, or possession of alcohol or drugs (except those properly prescribed by a physician and used in accordance with the physician’s instructions) by any employee while on the job or in any Y program facility.

The Y is committed to modeling healthy living. In conjunction with state laws on school campuses, smoking is prohibited at Y before and after school programs and on school campuses.

The South Sound YMCA is an inclusive organization. We welcome employees and members of all races, religions, colors, genders, ages, national origins, sexual orientations, physical or mental abilities, and economic backgrounds without discriminating and without judgment.

Use of pictures, video, or other media with children will be subject to a written release form included in the registration packet. No media will be used for any purpose without written consent from a parent/guardian. In some cases, media will be used for marketing and promotion purposes. Media will only be allowed if it is instrumental to a learning opportunity or specific child development activity.

The Y does not provide transportation for before and after-school care. Staff cannot transport a child in the program.

The Shelton School district does provide transportation for before and after-school care. Contact us for more information.

Please allow children to bring only what is necessary to Y Care. Toys, electronic games, personal sports equipment, or other personal articles are not permitted at YMCA Child Care. Children are not allowed to use personal cell phones during program hours. Phones should remain put away unless authorized by site staff. Pets are not allowed at any time. The YMCA is not responsible for any lost, broken, or stolen items.