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Sign In/Sign Out Sheet FAQs

New as of 07/09/2012

Q: How long do I need to maintain records of the sign in/sign out sheets?  

A: Records are required for three years past the contract year. As a best business practice, records should be maintained for seven years in accordance with requirements with IRS auditing practices.

Q: I only care for 1 or 2 children. Can I use the sheet for more than one day?  

A: Yes – the same sign in / sign out sheet may be used to track attendance for multiple days if there are only a few children in care. A blank line should be left in between entries.

Q: Does the parent need to sign and print their name?

A: No - the parent must print the child's first name and last name, and sign their name (Example: Child is John Smith - the parent would print the child's first name and last name, and the parent would sign their name on the signature line).

Q: I am not comfortable entering a child's first and last name on the new form. Do I have options to maintain confidentiality for certain children while still complying to the new form?

A: Where confidentiality is definitely a focus of the State, it is imperative that a sequential log be kept; however, if legitimate safety issues are a concern for any specific children, the first two initials of the child’s last name may be used (example: John Sm. for Smith).


Q: I have a sign in/sign out sheet already, and it is very similar to the new form. Can I still use the form I am currently using?

A: Unfortunately, the standardized form will be the only option for a sign in/sign out sheet. We had to go to a standardized form which allows for consistency and ensures that all of the required information is included. The standardized form was created through a collaborative effort in order to meet the needs of QAD, CACFP, and the Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship.  

Q: I do not have children that receive the Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship. Do I still have to use the new form?

A: The form is required for LCPs and any provider who is either registered or licensed through QAD, programs participating in CACFP, and programs participating in the Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship Program. Although policies regarding the standardized form are not currently in place, they are in the writing process and will be mandated by policy in the near future. We chose to distribute the state form now in order to allow programs to develop processes in order to implement more smoothly when the rules are finalized.    

Q: How often do I need a parental signature for an electronic sign in / sign out system?

A: Due to the variance in electronic systems, please contact one of the programs below. Please send a copy of the paper documentation that is generated to the ECSB address provided for review so we can check to make sure all required information is captured. You may continue to use your system during the transition period, but please make sure to send us this documentation by July 1. Excel or other computer data entry programs do not qualify as electronic systems; electronic systems use fingerprinting, key pad entry, swipe cards, etc., for parents to check their children in and out each day

Q: Can I pre-enter the children's first and last names on the new form for a 24-hour period before the parents arrive so they only have to sign and fill in the times?

A: Unfortunately, this is not allowable. Federal guidance has made us more aware of the importance of having consistent protocols in place. Audits across the state have pointed out several inconsistencies with the current process. It is essential that the sign in/sign out sheets be filled out as children arrive and leave in order to track the hours the children attend in a more accurate fashion. When the parents have to fill out the information, it makes them more accountable for the accuracy of the records. Pre-printed forms cannot be arranged in the order of arrival and makes parents less accountable for the information

Q: Who is responsible for printing the new form?

A: The provider is responsible for printing, maintaining, and retaining the new form. You can find the new form online in the following locations:

Early Childhood Services Bureau’s Website: www.bestbeginnings.mt.gov under “What’s New?” at the top left of the page.

Quality Assurance Division: http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/earlychildhood/whatsnew.shtml

This form is available in both landscape and portrait orientation. The portrait orientation allows for more spaces for the children; however, there is less space for parents to sign. Either form may be used.

Q: Can I print the new form 2-sided?

A: Definitely. Please use a pen that will not bleed through when printing and using this new form on double-sided paper.

Q: I care for a large group of children. Am I able to fill out the new form per classroom?

A: Yes; as long as it remains sequential and is filled out by the parents.

Q: What process should be followed if a provider needs to sign a child in or out due to extenuating circumstances (not for convenience)?

A: If the provider signs the child in or out, the parent must verify the accuracy of the information.  For instances where the provider signs a child in, the parent would verify the record when the child is picked up.  If, in the off-chance, the parent cannot verify the day of care with a signature (i.e. out of town), it should occur the next day, or, per example, when the parent returns.   In these cases, the parent must be able to review the record and sign that the times were accurate.   

Q: How do I correctly document when a child has a CE day?

A: These should be tracked using the invoice; not on the sign in/sign out sheet.   

Still have questions?

Please provide us with your name, contact information, and any questions you may have.


Early Childhood Services Bureau              
Patty Butler
P.O. Box 202925
Helena, MT 59620

Child Care Licensing
Stephanie Goetz
PO Box 202953
2401 Colonial Drive
Helena, MT  59620-2953

Child and Adult Care Food Program
Mary Musil
PO Box 202925
Helena, MT 59620-2925

This page last updated 09/27/2013