Child Care Licensing
Should You Be Licensed?
Once the decision is made to start a daycare, the next big issue is whether or not to be licensed. That may sound irrational - after all, doesn't every daycare need to be licensed? The fact is that licensing depends upon the number of children you take care of and where you take care of them. As a general rule, small, home based daycares are free to operate without a license. However, each state and province has their own rules about it, so it is important to check things out properly before you head off into business. As an aside, it's true that many daycares operate without a license when they really should have one.
Becoming licensed may seem to be overwhelming, especially when you're trying to find the rules and you come up against a lot of legal jargon. Fortunately, there are places like this site where you can get the information without the hassle. Just remember that the main point of licensing is to ensure the children are being taken care of in the same manner you would care for your own. Even though the licensing process can be intimidating (doubts start flying around in your head), press on.
One of the nice things about being licensed is that you can charge more. The fact is that licensed care providers are in big demand and often there are state or provincial programs and benefits for daycare providers. This puts them into a different bracket, allows them to charge more and still be filled. And, it isn't expensive to become licensed. Your biggest cost is usually the time it takes to fill out all of the paperwork. There will likely be a filing fee and that's about it.
As with all things, the more prepared you are, the better things will go. As previously mentioned, the primary function of the licensing process is to protect the children and ensure that the daycare environment is safe and that the welfare of the children is properly attended to in terms of safety, hygiene, nutrition, activities and all developmental aspects. The license is granted after a detailed evaluation of the facility by a government officer.
The first thing you will have to do in the licensing process is to fill out the application form. Some of the information on the form will include (but it isn't limited to this information):
· Personal and contact details
· Plants for the premises (if you're building) showing layout, playground and facilities
· Hours of operation and number of children served
· Details of the staff
· Details of the program you intend to implement
· Menu information and schedules
· Details of financial resources available
Once you've filled out the forms and they have been submitted, an interview will take place with the licensing officers to talk about the feasibility of starting a daycare in your area. They'll review the regulations and check out your financial resources. They will advise you of their preliminary visit which will be done by an evaluator to check the facility and determine whether everything is in compliance with the rules. Following the completion of the process you will either receive your license or be denied the license.
The child care licensing links below will give you information and contact numbers with regards to licensing requirements in your own state/province. These resources can also assist parents with any questions or concerns they may have about daycare facilities, day homes, day nurseries, etc. The agencies also help to develop and maintain quality child care programs by assisting child care providers.
Canadian Licensing Information & Contacts
Aboriginal Child Care in Canada
Overview and Comparison of Provincial Licensing Information
(CCRRU) Provicial Government Links (CCRRU Website)
Family Resource Programs In Canada
U.S. State Licensing Information & Contacts
National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care
District of Columbia
The Children's Defense Fund This link will give you information on how well your state fares on behlaf of its services for children. A truly eye-opening report.