The process of operating a daycare involves a detailed application and strict adherence to a variety of rules and regulations.
The following is an overview of home daycare licensing for starting a home daycare in California.
The Child Care Licensing Program
A license is necessary for any home daycare that provides care for at least two children from a family.
In California, the Child Care Licensing Program handles licensing for both Child Care Centers (located in commercial buildings) and Family Child Care Homes (located in private residences). They help ensure all child care facilities follow all applicable health and safety regulations. Additionally, they provide assistance and partnership as necessary.
Obtaining a home daycare license is a multi-step process.
Orientation: First, the applicant will need to attend an official orientation. California offers two options:
–Online: After registering, you have 30 days to complete the course
–In-person: Availability is sometimes limited due to COVID restrictions
Both online and in-person orientations require a non-refundable fee ($27.50 for online).
Complete the Application
Next, the applicant needs to complete the license application. It’s a fairly detailed questionnaire focused on many specific aspects of the home daycare. Examples of information the application requires includes:
–The number of children who will attend the daycare and their ages
–Whether the daycare is a for-profit or non-profit enterprise
–Whether the location is owned or rented, and who owns it or is listed on the lease
Criminal record and child abuse background checks
Another crucial part of the application process is providing a zoning permit. Specifics vary by city and county, but some residential areas prohibit home daycares, and others might have requirements in addition to what’s required by the state. Applicants will need to check relevant city and county websites for additional information.
Insurance and Bonds
The application will also need to obtain general liability insurance or a bond. Liability insurance protects against theft, fire, premises injury, and other general problems. A bond is a type of guarantee that the daycare remains compliant with all relevant laws. In California, home daycare providers require a bond or liability insurance coverage worth at least $300,000.
Finally, officials from the CCLP will conduct an in-person inspection of the home daycare. The inspection is scheduled ahead of time (it’s not a surprise inspection). During the assessment, the Licensing Program Analyst will consider a variety of factions, including:
Is the home clean, orderly, and well-lit? Are the ventilation and heating systems properly maintained, ensuring that indoor temperatures remain comfortable year-round? Also, are the toys and other items kept in an orderly fashion?
Safety regulations must be strictly followed at all times. Major elements of proper safety include fire prevention, staircase barricades, pool fences, and a disaster preparedness plan.
Accurate Record Keeping
Detailed records must be easily accessible. Home daycares need to keep emergency information cards on every child and maintain a daily roster of attendees.
In order to obtain home daycare licensing, the applicant must thoroughly adhere to a variety of rules and regulations. While the application process is extensive, ultimately meeting the home daycare requirements helps provide a safe, secure, and comfortable environment where children can thrive.