Child check-in - configuration guide

In this article

Introduction
Configuring the Brother label printer - Mac
Configuring the Brother label printer - Windows
Configuring the Check-In settings
Configuring browser 'kiosk' mode

Introduction

ChurchSuite's Child Check-In system is purpose-built to help you register and check children and young people into groups quickly and securely, and then just as easily check them out again at the end of the session; helping leaders manage their session and ensuring that each child is returned to the correct responsible adult. The Child Check-In system is one of the Connect applications designed for weekend services and mid-week gatherings.

The Check-In system can be used to check in your regular children, serving team members and visiting families. It can be used at your church's central child registration point in both staffed or unstaffed configurations, or for leaders to run "in the room" check-in/out on a portable device, or a combination of both. The Child Check-In system adds child attendance records to your ChurchSuite Children module, providing churches with all-important safeguarding records and comprehensive attendance reporting so that churches can easily monitor growth in this vital area of ministry.

When used with a compatible Brother label printer the Child Check-In system can be used to print child name badges, parent pick-up badges, room badges and team badges. The Check-In system can also be used without badge printing, perhaps for a mid-week youth gathering where you want to maintain an accurate check-in/out register of attendance.

The system is incredibly versatile, allowing churches to effectively manage adult-to-child ratios, and any restrictions you may have around each group's capacity (preventing further check-ins once capacity is reached). Importantly, it's easy to use - your leaders, parents and visiting families will love it!

Supported hardware: Check-in device

Wired configuration

Where speed of processing queues of parents and children is crucial, we recommend using a printer connected to a Windows device connected by USB - wired printing is generally faster than wireless printing. A Windows device running full Chrome works best and supports the use of 'kiosk' mode and silent printing. Make sure your Windows version is supported by Brother's printer drivers.

Wireless configuration

The system can be used in a wireless configuration with compatible hardware (check-in device and printer). The device must be either a Windows device running Google Chrome or an Android device running the ChurchSuite Connect app (available from Play Store).

Incompatible hardware

Android: Except for Android devices running the ChurchSuite Connect app, Android devices are not suitable for browser printing due to constraints in Android's native Google Print, which does not support kiosk mode or silent printing.

Kindle Fire: The Kindle Fire is not a suitable check-in device as it doesn't run true Android OS or support a Chrome browser with silent printing.

Chromebook: The Chromebook is not a suitable device as it is not an Android device and runs Chromebook OS, rather than Android OS. Badge printing is therefore not possible on a Chromebook.

Windows: For Windows devices, make sure your device's Windows operating system is supported by Brother's printer drivers - for example, devices running Windows Surface are not currently supported by Brother.

iOS: The ChurchSuite Connect app is currently only available for Android devices. iOS devices are not suitable for badge printing from a Safari browser environment due to the constraints of the native Apple Air Print which doesn't support kiosk mode or silent printing.

No printing requirements?

Any device (Android, Windows or iOS) with a browser can be used for Child Check-In where badge printing is not required and also for child check-out.

Supported hardware: Which printer?

Before using the Child Check-In system for badge printing, you will first need to install and configure the Brother label printer on your computer. ChurchSuite supports the older Brother QL-570, QL-710 and QL-720 (no longer manufactured) and the newer QL-700,& QL-800, QL-810W and QL-820NWB models. We recommend running Child Check-In on a Windows device in a Google Chrome browser with silent "kiosk" mode printing enabled so that labels are produced without the usual on-screen pop-up print confirmation messages.

Black or Red/Black labels?

The Brother QL-820NWB supports both single colour 'black' and two-colour black/red printing when used in conjunction with special supported label stock - a sample roll is supplied with the printer. For Mac and Windows devices you can only use the black/red label stock by first adjusting the printer settings and changing the Paper Type field to Black & Red instead of Monochrome.

Note: the ChurchSuite Connect app for Android devices only supports the use of single-colour (black) labels, and does not support the use of two-colour red/black label stocks. The use of Black & Red labels with the Android Connect app will result in a printing error: 'Error_Wrong_Label'.

Large or small labels?

The instructions in this article are for the 205 Small size label. If you wish to use the larger 205 Large labels, follow the same instructions but set the label width to 62mm and the height to 100mm.

Printing costs

"205" refers to the Brother continuous label stationery required for their QL printer range - part number DK22205 (or non-branded equivalent) - and is available inexpensively from many online resellers. A DK22205 continuous label roll is approximately 30.4m (30,400mm) and will produce 304 x 100mm length large labels, 1048 x 29mm length small labels, or 706 x 43mm length Android Connect app check-in labels. In calculating your anticipated costs and stationery needs remember that labels may be printed for child name badges, parent pick-up badges, room badges and team badges. All badges will be printed on the same size label - it is not possible to set different size labels for each badge type as the size is determined by the printer driver, not ChurchSuite.

Stop your printer sleeping

By default, Brother printers are preset to power down into sleep mode after 60 minutes of inactivity. Ordinarily, this isn't an issue unless you run multiple weekend services where the printer may switch off in between services and check-in sessions, resulting in connectivity issues or queued unprinted labels. A Brother support article explains how to disable the inactivity power down.

Resolving Brother driver issues

If you experience issues with your check-in device communicating with your Brother printer, you may find Brother's Printer Driver Information Cleanup Tool helpful for removing previously-installed drivers so that you can perform a clean driver reinstallation.

Supported hardware: WiFi & internet considerations

Child Check-In relies on uninterrupted internet access during a check-in session as attendance data is written to the ChurchSuite Children module from the Check-In system in real-time. Users will experience unavoidable connectivity issues if either the connection between the check-in device and printer or the check-in device and the internet is lost or unreliable. We recommend that you use a dedicated router over a private network for mission-critical processes like Child Check-In.

Many churches offer public WiFi at their services and events, however, this will likely create connectivity issues if the public network traffic is handled through the same router or access point as the Child Check-In system. This can happen during check-in/out if higher than usual numbers of people congregate in one area to drop off or collect their children, placing additional demand on nearby routers or access points. Most routers and access points are only capable of effectively handling 30-50 simultaneous connections, with priority given to the newest connections with older connections disconnected first as the router attempts to 'load balance' the connections. This means that while your leaders have success connecting to the internet when they set up the Check-In system first thing in the morning when there are hardly any connections, lost connectivity can be experienced as people begin to arrive and connect to the public WiFi network.

To minimise connectivity issues in environments where you provide guest wifi access, we encourage you to protect mission-critical IT processes by managing them through dedicated hardware such as a dedicated router/access point located near the Child Check-In system, running a private WiFi network and with no public/guest connections through that hardware.

Suggestion: Portable MiFi solutions (or tethering to a phone's data service) are inexpensive alternatives and may be helpful where the 3G/4G/5G signal is good. 3G/4G/5G may not be suitable in low signal areas, rural settings, or where the building's walls block or limit mobile data signal strength.

Configuring the Brother label printer - Mac

While ChurchSuite can print address labels on a wide variety of sheet label stationery, the Child Check-In system requires a specific printer that uses continuous label stationery - the Brother QL-700, QL-800, QL-810W or QL-820NWB.

Step 1 of 4 - Install the Brother printer driver

Download and install the printer driver files from Brother's website. If you are using macOS version 11 or newer no printer driver installation is required, however, the printer will need to be connected to the Mac using USB and powered on.

Step 2 of 4 - Add the browser printing custom paper size

Open Google Chrome to a new page and press Option+Cmd+P to open the print pop-up. From the drop-down Paper Size list select Manage Custom Sizes...

On the pop-up click the " +" button to Add a custom paper size to the list. Rename the item by double-clicking it and overtyping the default name. Press <Enter> to apply the item name change.

For Small labels enter Width 62mm and Height 29mm. For Large labels enter Width 62mm and Height 100mm. All other settings are left as default. Click OK to close the pop-up and Cancel to dismiss the print pop-up.

Step 3 of 4 - Add the printer and set the default printer and paper size

From the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen select System Preferences.

Select Printers & Scanners.

Click Add + to set up a printer.

With the printer connected and powered on, select the Brother printer from the list and click Add.

Finally, set the Default printer and Default paper size. Close the pop-up when completed.

Step 4 of 4 - Select the matching label size in ChurchSuite

In ChurchSuite, head into the Children module's settings via the cogwheels icon in the top-right corner. Click into the Check-In Options tab and Edit the Session Defaults to select the corresponding Check-In Badge Size to match the default paper size selected in step 3. Save changes before navigating away from the module settings.

The Brother printer is now ready to be used with the Child Check-In system. See the related support article for further information on Child Check-In Operation.

Note: Since Mac devices, Google Chrome for Mac (and other browsers for Mac) do not support a browser 'kiosk' mode with silent printing, users will need to click the Print button each time when badges are previewed during the child check-in process. The print preview is displayed for around 10 seconds before auto-closing and cycling the system ready to check in the next child. Customers wishing to avoid needing to click Print each time should consider using a Windows check-in device running Google Chrome, which does support a silent printing user experience.

Configuring your Brother label printer - Windows

While ChurchSuite can print address labels on a wide variety of sheet label stationery, the Child Check-In system requires a specific printer that uses continuous label stationery - the Brother QL-700, QL-800, QL-810W or QL-820NWB.

Step 1 of 3 - Install the Brother printer driver

Download and install the printer driver files for the appropriate version of Windows OS from Brother's website. Then, with the printer connected to the Windows PC using USB and powered on, the printer should be automatically added to the list of printers on your device.

Step 2 of 3 - Configure the printing settings for the Brother printer

Click on the Windows Start menu and select Settings.

Click into the Devices section.

Click into the Printers & scanners section - you should see your printer already listed; otherwise, with the printer connected using USB and powered on, click Add a printer. Once listed click on the Brother printer, followed by Manage.

Click Set as default. Then click into Printing preferences.

On the pop-up click on the Other tab. Set the Unit as mm. Click Apply.

Click on the Basic tab. In the Paper Size section, select the Small Address Label size (for small labels 62mm x 29mm) or the Large Address Label size (for large labels 100mm x 62mm).

Click Apply and OK to save the changes.

Step 3 of 3 - Select the matching label size in ChurchSuite

In ChurchSuite, head into the Children module's settings via the cogwheels icon in the top-right corner. Click into the Check-In Options tab and Edit the Session Defaults to select the corresponding Check-In Badge Size to match the default paper size selected in step 2. Save changes before navigating away from the module settings.

The Brother printer is now ready to be used with the Child Check-In system. See the related support article for further information on Child Check-In Operation. Continue reading this article

Configuring the Check-In settings

Head into the Children module's settings via the cogwheels icon in the top-right corner of the page - you'll need at least 'Manage module' permissions to make changes. Click on the Check-In Options tab. This tab has all the settings related to the Child Check-In system. Click to Edit the Session Defaults.

On the Session Defaults pop-up, set the default settings that will be suggested when a Connect user starts a new check-in session. The user will be able to override these defaults when they start their session. The Check-In Badge Size must match the printing preference set for the printer, as explained in the previous section for Mac and Windows.

Continuing through the settings. Next, click Edit to add an optional Welcome Message displayed on the Child Check-In home screen to greet parents - this might, for example, include simple instructions for parents/visitors.

Choose the preferred child Search Fields. Parents can search for a child by first name, last name, or the full or last 4 digits from a telephone or mobile/cell number, or by scanning the family's barcode. For those running unstaffed Child Check-In kiosks you may prefer to further safeguard children's identities by restricting the check-in search fields, perhaps disabling name search. By disabling name search, parents are prevented from random name searches like "John", which would otherwise display a list of all matching children with "John" in the child or linked parent name field. However, for a staffed Child Check-In kiosk, or where large numbers of children are expected, having a broader range of search options will make it quicker and easier for leaders to locate and check in each child. Click Edit to make changes to search fields.

Note about search field restrictions

During an active Check-In session, leaders can use an Unlock search option (on the drop-down arrow button shown below) to search against all fields (name, phone and barcode), should a parent not be able to locate their child using a more restricted search. The Child Check-In system PIN will be required if one has been set. The search method will automatically lock down after performing an unlocked search.

The following section relates to customising the Child Badge and Room Badge. Click Edit to make changes. A visual example of each badge is shown as you make changes so that you can see what a printed badge will look like. It is not possible to customise the Parent badge or Team badge.

The Visitors Settings determine which fields are shown when checking in a visiting child. You can also set which fields to Make required. Click Edit to make changes. For further information see also the related support article on Managing the details of child check-in visitors.

Note: Visitors are not automatically added to the Children module, but a separate log of their attendance is maintained in the Visitors section of the module. Visitors are deleted automatically if they have not checked in for a certain period. Using the Delete visitors after setting (see above) you can set the retention period for visitor details before being deleted if they have not checked in for this period.

Add an optional Success Message that's displayed on the screen after a parent successfully checks in their child while the badges are being printed. For example, you could display instructions on how parents/visitors should collect their children at the end of the session. Click Edit to make changes.

The final Check-In Options relate to the Check-in Admin Area. This is typically accessed by leaders or the person responsible for the check-in session. The Admin Area is where leaders can overview an active Check-In session, to see which children are registered and/or checked in. It's also the place they can also view parent contact details, important medical notes, additional needs, custom fields and photo/video consents for children, and much more - all without needing access to the Children module. The Admin Area is also the place your leaders will go to check out children at the end of the Session. See the related support article for further information about the Admin Area.

By setting an Admin PIN you can restrict access to the Admin Area to just those who know the PIN, making it known to just those leaders who need to know. Once set, the PIN will be required to access the Admin Area and also to unlock child search restrictions (see earlier).

Configuring browser 'kiosk' mode

Kiosk mode enables the Child Check-In system to operate in a more secure, full-screen mode, to prevent unauthorised access to other areas of the check-in device. Silent printing is the term used to describe the skipping of printer pop-ups and dialogue boxes when the 'print' button is pressed. To print badges without parent/user interruption or intervention we recommend setting your Check-In device to operate in 'kiosk' mode with 'silent printing' enabled. This is most easily achieved using Google Chrome on a Windows device, which readily supports both features. 'Workarounds' and third-party browser extensions may be possible for other browsers and Mac devices.

Using Windows Explorer locate the Chrome application on your device. Right-click on Google Chrome and select Copy.

Clicking onto your desktop right-click and select Paste shortcut. This will become the shortcut link that you will use for launching Child Check-In in the future. Right-click on the newly-created shortcut and select Properties.

Click on the Shortcut tab.

In the Target field, position your cursor at the end of the field's content and replace the part that says \chrome.exe" with the following: \chrome.exe" --kiosk --kiosk-printing https://account.churchsuite.com/connect" where account refers to the first part of the URL of your ChurchSuite account. For example, if you access ChurchSuite using the URL kingshope.churchsuite.com, your account would be kingshope.

Note all the spaces in the above Target link - they're important! Click OK to save the properties for your shortcut. Next, ensure Google Chrome is not already running on your computer (use Task Manager to close all running instances of Chrome.exe, especially in Windows 10 where Chrome services continue to run even after closing the browser). You can now open a new instance of Google Chrome in Kiosk mode using the new shortcut link on your desktop.

Note: To exit the assigned access (kiosk) application, press Ctrl + Alt + Del, and then sign in using another account. When you press Ctrl + Alt + Del to sign out of assigned access, the kiosk application will exit automatically.

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