Child check-in - using the leader's Admin Area
In this article
ChurchSuite's Child Check-In system is purpose-built to help churches 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 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 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 the 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 simply 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!
Using the leader Admin Area
Leaders often need quick access to important information during a group session, but it's not always appropriate or desirable to give all your leaders access to the Children module. Usually they just need very limited information and only for the children in their care. The Child Check-In Admin Area is designed to give them everything they might need to manage their group. The Admin Area is also the place to do "in room" check-in or check-out at the end of the session. There's lots of great functionality to help leaders, ensure good safeguarding practices and solicit leader feedback on things that might need follow up after the session.
Access to the Admin Area requires entry of a PIN - a 4-digit number that you set in your Children module's settings on the Connect Options tab, and which you'll only distribute to those leaders who need to know.
Once a leader is in the Check-In system they can access the Admin Area by simply clicking the Admin button in the top right-hand corner of the Session's Check-In page.
They then enter the PIN to access the Admin Area.
From here leaders see a visual overview of the active Session (below). There are two tabs - Now and Total. The Now tab displays a "group totals" overview of the currently checked in children, visitors and team, while the Total tab gives the same "group totals" overview based on actual registered children, whether they are still checked in or not. The important distinction here is that at any given time not every child may be checked in. Some may have been already checked out (at the end of the session). Some may have registered, but didn't attend and so they never checked in - this can happen when two-stage check-in is used i.e. children might be registered before the service, but for whatever reason they decide not to attend and so they're not subsequently checked in. Importantly these two tabs tell you everything you need to know - Total registered children for the Session and who you currently have still checked into groups Now. The Now tab is your up-to-the-minute register in the event of an emergency where a "roll call" is needed.
As check-in progresses during a session, the Capacity indicator bars on the Now tab will auto-update according to either the adult-to-child ratios set for each group (set in the Children module > Groups section), or the group's capacity (if set). The indicator bar changes colour, turning from green (within capacity) to orange as you near or reach capacity (calculated as being when the final adult in the adult-to-child ratio is reached). The bar then turns red when you are over capacity - a great way to monitor a potential need to draft in extra adult team members or cap the number of children able to attend. While young people aged 11+ can be Team members, only responsible adult team members are used in calculating the progress indicator bar.
You can make changes to a group's capacity and adult-to-child ratios. Simply click into the group from the above summary page and click the Edit button at the top of the group page.
On the Edit group pop-up add or edit the Capacity and Ratio details as appropriate. Changes made here are updated to the Group's settings in the Children module.
From the Check-Ins Now and Total summary page, clicking on a Group in the list takes you to the Group page for the active session. The Group page is has 4 tabs - Check-Ins, Details, Attendance and Notes.
The Check-Ins tab lists all registered children, visitors and team for the group. The list is scrollable, but for long lists the Search and Boys/Girls filters may be helpful. As you type a name in the Search the list auto-filters matching results. The list of children can also be re-ordered - simply click on a column heading. The Check-Ins page can also be printed as a report (using the Report button top right). At a glance, for each child, leaders can see the name of each child in the group, the check-in Code (ideal if a child has lost their badge!), the time that they were Registered for the group, and the times they were checked In or Out. Contact details for the primary parent are also displayed for each child.
Within the list are buttons for Check out, and where a child has been checked out, to Check in again - for example if a young child is taken from the group by a parent for a nappy change. The Check in button is also used during a two-stage check-in process where children have been previously registered but now the children are being actually checked in to your care, perhaps in room. Note that only registered children can be checked in and out - those arriving at a group who are not registered will not be able to be checked in until they register and obtain their badges. The Check in and Check out buttons update the child's group attendance data for the active Session back in your ChurchSuite Children module.
Still on the Check-Ins tab, clicking on a child in the list will open a pop-up page with further child information, including basic Emergency Contact details, Photo/Video consent, Medical Information, Special Needs, and Additional Information, such as any children custom fields you've set as Visible in Connect.
The Group's Details page again lists all children in the group for the active session, but provides a detailed list of Medical, Special Needs, Additional Info and Photo/Video Consent - ideal for checking for allergies in the group before handing out juice and biscuits to the children. Note that child details cannot be edited by leaders - only Children module Users and parents (in My ChurchSuite) can change do this.
Note: If a child has a Medical Short note, this is displayed and clicking on the child will show the Medical Long note in the child pop-up modal. If a child doesn't have Medical Short, but does have Medical Long, a green tick is shown - clicking on the child will show the Medical Long in the child pop-up modal. If a child has neither Medical Short or Medical Long, a dash is shown.
The Group's Attendance tab shows recent group attendance for those present during the session - ideal for welcoming back a child that's been absent for a time for any reason.
Finally, the Notes tab is great to leaders to be able to add feedback about their group session.
Notes added in the Admin Area are surfaced in the Children module's Attendance section so that ministry overseers can pick up on all session feedback in one place.
Moving children between groups
Sometimes leader may need to move a child (or team member) to a different group within the active Session - perhaps to place an unsettled child with a sibling or friend, or to move a child incorrectly assigned to their group.
To move the child, locate their entry on the Group page and click the "ellipses" menu on the right hand side of their name.
...and select Move child.
Next, select the new Group they are being moved to and click Confirm. Not only is the child moved to the new group in the active session, but their group attendance data is also moved in the Children module's Attendance section
It's easy to re-print badges that are lost. Simply locate their entry on the Group page and click the "ellipses" menu on the right hand side of their name.
...and select Re-print badge.
All badges will be re-printed for that child, as determined by the Session printing settings. It is not possible to print just a parent badge or just a child badge.
Leaving, closing or pausing a session
Within the Admin Area, from the Session menu option on the left hand side of the screen, leaders have options to Leave, Pause or Close the active session.
From this same menu, clicking Return will log the leader out of the Admin Area and return them back to the parent check-in 'search' page.
Closing a check-in Session
Closing a check-in Session will effect to all check-in stations and will immediately check out all remaining checked-in children for that Session, including adding a check-out time stamp to each child. All child registrations (two-stage) that have not yet been checked-in will be deleted. A Session should only be closed at the end of the meeting once all children have been checked out and returned to parents. Any active Sessions that are still open will be automatically closed at midnight. Once a Session has been closed, it cannot be re-opened.
Locking a check-in device to a particular group
It's possible to lock a child check-in device to a particular group within a gathering. Searching for children will still work across all groups within the gathering, but when checking in, the children will be allocated to the group the device is locked to.
To lock a device to a particular group within the active session's gathering, head into the Admin area of the Child Check-in system - click the Admin button in the top right corner of the page and, if requested, enter your admin area PIN.
Within the Admin area, click into the Session menu and select Lock device.
Select the Group within the current session's gathering to lock the device to. Click Save Changes.
You can return to the Session page at any time to Unlock device if you need to.
Once a device is locked to a group - the Impact group in this example - all check-ins on that device will have attendance recorded for that group, regardless of the child's age or normal group assignment.
Checking a child out
When it's time to check children out at the end of a Session, leaders will need to access the Child Check-in Admin Area. Since there's no printing requirements associated with child check-out, leaders can use their own Smartphone's browser to complete the check-out process - perhaps if your groups don't yet have their own "in-room" check-out devices. Leaders could also use their Smartphone for group check-in too if there are no badge printing requirements - ideal for a mid-week youth club.
To check children out, access the Admin Area by clicking the Admin button in the top right corner of the check-in page.
Enter the Admin Area PIN.
Now in the Admin Area on the Check-Ins page click to select a Group, select the All Groups option at the bottom of the list of groups.
On the Group's Check-Ins tab and following your church's check-out processes (e.g. matching the parent pick-up Code number with a child's Code), locate the child on the list and click the red Check out button beside their name. An Out time stamp is added.
If you're parents are using My ChurchSuite and the My Children section is enabled in your Children module's settings, parents can use the My Children screen during an active Session to check their children in (by scanning the session QR Code at your check-in station). Their parent pick-up pass details are also listed in My Children for each checked-in child - ideal for the parent who's misplaced their pick-up badge! The check out time stamp is visible here too - ideal for one parent to know if the other parent has already collected the child.
Note: This is suitable for your regular church members with My ChurchSuite access. Parents or visitors without My ChurchSuite will still need to present their printed pick-up badge.
Once the Session has come to an end and all of the children have been checked out, you can safely Close the Session - see the earlier section in this article.