Licensing a daycare varies from state to state. Whether your state refers to it as licensing or registering, you need to complete this process before you actually start caring for children. A good place to start would be contacting your local social services or human services department to find out specific regulations for your state. All states vary concerning what conditions must be met in order to become a licensed or registered daycare and some states don’t require a license at all. You may look up state-by-state regulations on the internet at the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance website. The department responsible for supervising child care facilities in your state will have an information packet they can mail to you which will give you all the legal requirements needed to open an in-home daycare.
When applying for your license or registration, you must meet the following requirements:
There are different types of licenses to apply for depending on how many and what ages of children you are planning on caring for.
At some point after you apply for your daycare license, the licensing agency will send someone to your home for an inspection to be sure it is properly set up and that it is a safe environment for children to be in.
When you get your information packet on licensing a daycare, you will receive the specific items they will be looking for while inspecting your home. Since regulations vary from state to state, I have compiled a general list. Your inspection may include, but not be limited to:
As they perform the inspection, they may watch for:
All Around the House:
In the Kitchen:
In the Bathroom:
You must have:
At your initial home inspection, the county agent will not be checking enrollment files since you are not caring for children yet. Subsequent visits will include inspection of child enrollment files.
Again, this list is only a compilation of common state-by-state requirements for licensing a daycare. Your individual state may differ from this list. When licensing a daycare, you need to find out specific regulations and guidelines for your specific state.
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Marcia Reagan is the creator of DaycareAnswers and lives in Central Minnesota with her husband and two children. She's been an in-home daycare provider for over twenty years and loves to share her experience and passion for daycare with other providers.