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      Schools and child care centers work to get kids home safe

      Child care centers and elementary schools in northern Michigan are working hard to keep kids safe, especially when it comes to keeping track of who picks them up at the end of the day.

      At Holy Angels Preschool and Elementary School, staff members use a card system that parents fill out at the beginning of the school year. The cards have information about every child, including a list of names of the people who are allowed to pick them up if they're not riding the bus.

      "At the start of the school year, parents are required to fill out what we call a white card," said Principal Janet Troppman. "On it, there is a space to indicate who is allowed to pick up the child."

      At the end of the day students line up and are escorted by a teacher to the designated cars. The school asks that every car place the child's last name on the dashboard, so that the staff can better identify them.

      "That's the only people we release them to," said Troppman. "If there is somebody that we don't recognize or know, we have to wait. We have to bring them into the office, look on that information card, have them identify themselves and then we are allowed to release the child."

      If the person they identify is not on the list, the school calls the parents, and the child is not released.

      Angel Care Child Care in Traverse City uses the same type of card system, and no one can walk through the doors to the facility unless they are identified and buzzed in.

      Staff at the YMCA Early Childhood Education Center keep their doors locked at all times and use a code system that only the parents or legal guardians have access to.

      "If someone else is picking up, then the parents need to notify us of that ahead of time and then they can ring the doorbell," said Director, Dagny Monette. "We let them in but we've had situations where maybe a grandpa picks up and if we haven't been notified then they can't pick them up."