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.
Although the United States Constitution does not expressly guarantee an individual's right to privacy, many people recognize privacy as an implied right, as affirmed in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 85 S.Ct. 1678 (1965). However, the right to privacy extends only to protection from actions of local, state and federal governments. Private employers are not obliged to protect an individual's right to privacy, unless the state has ruled that private employers must comply with a state's constitution protecting individual rights to privacy. Privacy laws impact video surveillance that is installed in day cares to monitor employees. Under privacy laws, daycare facilities may install cameras only to monitor employees, if employees are advised of the cameras' presence before installation and if employees are advised of the cameras' locations.
Purpose of Surveillance
Video surveillance cameras 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 for the purpose of allowing parents to monitor children in the daycare center, all daycare employees, attendants and parents must be informed about the cameras' intended use. Furthermore, all daycare employees, attendants and parents must be advised of each camera's location. 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. Such measures include frequently changing passwords, taking filtering measures, immediately reporting abuse or inappropriate 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 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.