In addition to working with children on the latchkey situation, parents should explore the resources available in their community to expand their options. For example:
- Some groups run a telephone friend program. This is a number that latchkey children can call if they are scared or lonely. It is not meant to replace regular contact with a parent or other trusted adult, but it could be a valuable resource, particularly for those parents whose jobs do not allow unlimited access to a telephone.
- Extended daycare programs may be at local schools or sponsored by neighborhood organizations. If not, you may be able to start one with the help of other concerned parents.
Check your school’s policies concerning absences and the release of your children to anyone but you. Be sure the school will:
- Release your child only to persons previously designated by you.
- Verify any telephone call stating anyone other than a designated person will be picking up your child (by calling you back at your listed number).
- Notify you whenever your child is not in class.
Some schools have a parent alert program that uses volunteers to call parents if their children are not in school. To start such a program, contact your school or a local volunteer group.