Start a Daycare in Arizona – Licensing – Regulations – Laws
|START A DAYCARE IN ARIZONA||FACILITY LICENSURE|
|FACILITY ADMINISTRATION||FACILITY STAFF|
|FACILITY PROGRAM EQUIPMENT||PHYSICAL PLANT OF A FACILITY|
|FIND A DAYCARE OR CHILD CARE IN ARIZONA||STATE LICENSING CONTACT|
The mission of the Arizona Department of Health Services is “to monitor the health, safety and well-being of children in licensed child care facilities and certified child care group homes throughout Arizona by establishing appropriate rules, monitoring for compliance, offering technical assistance and training to caregivers and providing consumer education”. To carry this out, a stringent screening and review is conducted when an individual, association, or corporation applies for a license to operate a child care center. This is aimed to guarantee that the best care possible will be given to the children of the state who will be left under the care of these centers while their parents are in their work or other economic activities to make a living.
Application for a License
An applicant for a license to operate a child care center in Arizona must be at least 18 years of age, and a U.S. citizen or legal resident alien, and must be a resident of Arizona. If the applicant is a corporation, association, or limited liability company, it need to be a domestic entity or a foreign entity that is qualified to do business in Arizona. If the applicant is a partnership, one of the partners must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident alien and must be a resident of Arizona.
The applicant for a license must submit to the Department of Health Services a notarized application form duly signed by the applicant stating the following:
- The applicant’s name;
- The name of the facility, street address, mailing address, and telephone number;
- The applicant’s type of business organization;
- That no controlling person of the organization has been denied a certificate to operate a child group home or a license to operate a child care facility in Arizona or in any other state;
- That no controlling person of the organization has had a certificate to operate a child group home or a license to operate a child care facility revoked for reasons related to endangerment of the health and safety of children;
- That the applicant agrees to allow the Department to submit supplemental requests for information; and
- That the applicant has read and will comply with the rules and declares to the accuracy and completeness of the information provided in the application.
If the applicant is a business organization, an Attachment to Application must be submitted. The attachment must include:
- The address of the business organization;
- The name, title, and address of each officer, board member or trustee; and
- Copy of the business organization’s articles of incorporation, articles of organization, or partnership or joint venture documents.
The following must also be submitted in connection with the application for a license to operate a child care center:
- Copy of the applicant’s valid class one or class two fingerprint clearance card;
- Criminal History Affidavit Class I or Class II;
- Certificate issued by the Department showing that the applicant has completed at least four hours of Department-provided training that included the Department’s role in licensing and regulating child care facilities under the Arizona Revised Statutes;
- If the applicant is an individual, a copy of proof of his being a U.S. citizen or a legal resident alien;
- If the applicant is a corporation or a limited liability company, a certificate of good standing issued by the Arizona Corporation Commission dated six months before the date of application;
- If the applicant is a partnership or an association, a copy of proof of U.S. citizenship or legal resident alien for one of the partners or association members;
- An Applicant, Staff, and Resident Report Form;
- An Agricultural Land Notification Form;
- Director Qualifications Form to be completed by the individual who is proposed to be the facility director; and
- The fee required by the Arizona Administrative Code..
The Department shall issue a license to the applicant depending on the completeness of the application and other requirements. The Department will notify the applicant of any deficiency in the submitted application and other requirements, giving him the opportunity to complete or correct the deficiencies.
As part of the substantive review for the application of a license, the Department shall conduct an inspection that may require more than one visit to the facility. The Department shall issue a license or approval if it determines that the applicant and the facility are in substantial compliance with all the requirements of the Department of Health Services and the Arizona Administrative Code.
The Department will issue a license to a child care facility using the following classifications:
- Full-day care,
- Part-day care,
- Evening and night time care,
- Infant care,
- One-year old child care, and
- School-age child care.
At least 45 days before the expiration of a current license, an application for renewal must be submitted to the Department. The application for renewal must include the following:
- The applicant’s name;
- The name of the facility, street address, mailing address, and telephone number;
- The applicant’s type of business organization; and
- A statement attesting that the applicant has read and will comply with the rules and that the information provided in the application are accurate.
The application for renewal must include also an Attachment to Applications for any changes to the information previously submitted, and the required fee.
A licensee to operate a child care center must ensure that every staff member and adult resident of a facility must possess a valid class one or class two fingerprint clearance card; or must submit to the licensee within seven working days after becoming a staff member or adult resident a copy of a fingerprint clearance card application showing that the application was submitted to the fingerprint division of the Department of Public Safety. The licensee must not allow an individual to be a staff member or an adult resident of the child care facility if such individual has been denied a class two fingerprint clearance. A documentation of compliance to the fingerprinting requirements must be maintained in the files of the child care center throughout the employment of a staff member or adult resident until 12 months after the individual ceases to be a staff member or adult resident.
Denial, Revocation, or Suspension of License
The Department may deny, revoke, or suspend a license to operate a child care facility if an applicant or a licensee:
- Provides false or misleading information to the Department:
- Has been denied a certificate or license to operate a child care home or a child care facility in any state, unless the denial was due to failure to complete the certification or licensing process according to a required time-frame;
- Has had a certificate to operate a child home care or a license to operate a child care facility revoked or suspended in any state;
- Has been denied a fingerprint clearance card or has had a fingerprint clearance card revoked;
- Fails to substantially comply with any rules of the Department or any provision of the Administrative Code; or
- Substantially complies with the rules of the Administrative Code but refuses to carry out a plan acceptable to the Department to eliminate any deficiencies.
In considering denial, suspension, or revocation of a license, the Department must consider the threat to the health and safety of the children in the facility based on different factors like: repeated violations of statutes or rules, a pattern of non-compliance, type of violations, severity of each violation, and the number of violations.
A licensee to operate a child care facility must designate a facility director who will act on behalf of the licensee and will be responsible for the day-to-day onsite operation of the facility. The facility director must designate in writing an individual who can act on the behalf of the director when he is not present in the facility. The designated individual must be given access to all records necessary for the performance of the duties of the facility director. The facility director must prepare a dated attendance record for each day and ensures that each staff member records on the attendance log the time of each arrival and departure.
The licensee shall develop and implement written facility policies and procedures for the daily onsite operation of the facility. The licensee shall:
- Notify parents that they have access to areas of the facility where child care services are provided during hours of operations and that they are permitted to participate in any child care activity that may involve parent’s participation;
- Ensure that during hours of operations, access to the facility premises be granted to: a parent or an individual designated in writing by the parent, or a representative of the Department, local health department, Child Protective Services, or local fire department of State Fire Marshal;
- Ensure that a staff member will accompany and monitor any individual who is not a staff member but is on the facility premises to provide repair, maintenance, supplemental education, or other services where children are present;
- Ensure that every individual who is a staff member or a resident of the facility submits documents provided by a health care provider as evidence of current freedom from pulmonary tuberculosis;
- Ensure that a staff member notifies a child parents in case a child has an accident, injury, or emergency that requires medical treatment by a health care provider. Documentation of such incident must be maintained at the center;
- Ensure that at least one staff member who has current training in first aid and at least one staff member who has current training in CPR will be present at all times on the facility premises, on field trips or while transporting enrolled children in a facility vehicle;
- Prohibit, during hours of operation or in any motor vehicle when transporting enrolled children, the use or possession of any alcoholic beverage, controlled substances, dangerous drugs, prescription medication except where used in the manner prescribed, or a firearm;
- Ensure the conduct, at least once a month, of an unannounced fire evacuation drills that include every staff member and every child in the facility; and
- Ensure that a written performance evaluation of every staff member is conducted every 12 months from the date of employment.
Statement of Child Care Services
A child care facility licensee must prepare a written statement regarding child care services to be submitted to the Department at the time the facility receives and initial license and every twelve months from the date of the initial license. A copy of the same must be provided to parents at the time a child is enrolled or when a parent requests for such a copy. The written statement of child care services shall include the following:
- Description of the facility’s child care services classification;
- Hours of operation;
- Child enrollment and disenrollment procedures;
- Charges, fees, and payment requirements for child care services;
- Child admission and release requirements;
- Discipline guidelines and methods;
- Transportation procedures;
- Field trip requirements and procedures;
- Responsibilities and participation of parents in facility activities;
- Description of all activities and programs;
- Liability insurance that is carried by the licensee;
- Medication administration procedures;
- Notice stating inspection reports are available upon request; and
- Provision stating that the facility is regulated by the Arizona Department of Health Services including the Department’s address and telephone number.
Enrollment of Children
A child shall be enrolled by the child’s parent or an individual authorized in writing by the parent. The child’s parent shall be required to complete an Emergency, Information, and Immunization Record card that is signed by the parent containing the following:
- The name of the child, home address, home telephone number, gender, and date of birth;
- The date of enrollment;
- The names, home and business addresses, and telephone numbers of the child’s parents;
- The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of individuals authorized by a parent to collect a child from the facility if the parent cannot be located;
- The names of individuals not allowed by the parents to remove a child from the facility;
- The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of a child’s health care provider and hospital;
- The parent’s written authorization, including the parent’s instructions, for emergency medical care of the child when the parent cannot be contacted at the time of the emergency;
- The written instructions by a parent or a health care provider for the nutritional and dietary needs of a child;
- A written record completed by the parent or a health care provider on the child’s susceptibility to illness, physical conditions of which child care personnel should be aware, and any individual requirements for health maintenance; and
- A child immunization record or a notation of exemption affidavit.
The Emergency, Information, and Immunization Record card for each child enrolled in the facility must be maintained in a place that will allow child care personnel ready access in the event of an emergency at, or evacuation of, the facility.
When a child is disenrolled from a facility, the date of disenrollment must be entered in the Emergency, Information, and Immunization Record card which must be maintained for 12 months from the date of the disenrollment.
Child Immunization Requirements
A licensee shall not allow an enrolled child to attend a facility until receipt of a child’s written immunization record or an exemption affidavit. The immunization record must contain the information provided by a health care provider stating that the child has received all current, age-appropriate immunizations required by the Department. An exemption affidavit provided by the parent shall consist of a signed statement by a health care provider stating that the immunizations required by the Department would endanger a child’s health or medical condition. The exemption affidavit could also consist of a statement signed by the parent that the child is being raised in a religion whose teachings are in opposition to immunization.
A staff member of the facility shall update a child’s immunization record on the child’s Emergency, Information, and Immunization Record card each time a parent provides a written statement from the child’s health care provider that the child has received an age-appropriate immunization. If the child’s immunization record shows that the child has not received an age-appropriate immunization, a staff member must notify the parent in writing that the child may attend the facility for not more than 15 days from the date of notice until the parent submits a written statement from the child’s health care provider that the age-appropriate immunization has been administered to the child.
When a staff member or an enrolled child has a communicable disease, child care personnel will not permit attendance in the facility of all children who lack written evidence of immunity to the communicable disease until a parent provides written evidence of the child’s immunity to the disease or when the local health authority allows the child’s return to the facility.
Admission and Release of Children; Attendance Records
The child care center must maintain a written or electronically logged and dated attendance form that contains a child’s name together with the time of each admission and release of the child. The attendance form is to be signed with at least a first initial and last name by each child’s parent or a duly designated representative. An electronic fingerprint verification may be used in place of a signature of a parent or a designated representative to verify the identity before admitting or releasing a child. A picture identification shall be required from an individual other than the parent before releasing the child. An enrolled child will not be released to an individual other than the parent or a designated individual except when the parent is unable to collect the child and the parent authorizes the child care facility by telephone to release the child to an individual so designated. The child care facility staff must verify the telephone authorization through means of verification that has been set in place by the parent and the child care facility at the time of enrollment.
A staff member of the child care center shall prepare and maintain a roster each day for each child under the staff member’s supervision that is dated, lists the first and last name of each child physically present, and is maintained in the premises of the facility for three months from the date of attendance.
Child Abuse or Neglect
The licensee or a staff member of the child care center must document and report all suspected or alleged cases of child abuse and neglect. The suspected or alleged child abuse or neglect must be reported to the Child Protective Services or to a local law enforcement agency. The licensee must also send written documentation to the Department, Child Protective Services, and any local law enforcement agency previously notified within three days of the initial report, and maintain written documentation of a child abuse or neglect report on facility premises for 12 months from the date of the report.
The child care center must maintain a general facility liability insurance of at least $300,000 and motor vehicle insurance coverage for each motor vehicle used by the facility to transport enrolled children.
The child care center must have the following health and safety inspections of a facility, in accordance with the following schedule, and make any repair or corrections stated on an inspection report before a license is issued by the Department:
- Sanitation inspections, conducted to a minimum of every 12 months by a local health department;
- Gas inspection, conducted a minimum of every 12 months by a plumber holding a plumbing business license issued by a local government; and
- Fire inspection, conducted a minimum of every 36 months by a local fire department or the State Fire Marshal.
A child care center must have personnel who meet the following qualifications for employment or volunteer service:
- A facility director must be 21 years of age or older with a written documentation on his educational qualifications;
- A teacher-caregiver must be 18 years of age or older with a written documentation on his educational qualifications;
- An assistant teacher-caregiver, or student-aid must be 16 years of age or older with written documentation on his educational qualifications; and
- A volunteer must be 16 years of age or older.
The child care center must maintain a file for each staff member containing the staff member’s name, date of birth, home address and telephone number. The file must also contain name and telephone number of a health care provider to be notified in case of emergency, written statement attesting to current immunity against measles, rubella, diphtheria and tetanus. The file must contain, in addition, the following:
- Copy of the current license or certification required;
- Written documentation of completed training:
- Starting dates of employment or volunteer service;
- All written performance evaluation of the staff member; and
- At least two personal and two professional references.
The staff member must complete within 10 days of the starting date of employment or volunteer service training provided by the child care center on the following:
- Facility philosophy and goals;
- Names, ages, and needs of children to be assigned to a staff member;
- Health needs, nutritional requirements, and information on adaptive services of a child for whom a staff member will provide child care services;
- Lesson plans;
- Child guidance and methods of discipline;
- Hand washing techniques;
- Diapering techniques and toileting, if applicable;
- Food preparation, service, sanitation, and storage, when applicable;
- Infant formula preparation, if applicable;
- Recognition of signs of illness and infestation;
- Child abuse or neglect detection, prevention, and reporting;
- Accident and emergency procedures;
- Staff responsibilities;
- Sun safety policies and procedures; and
- Safety on outdoor activity areas.
The child care center must have the following staff-to-children ratio when providing child care services to enrolled children:
|Age Group||Staff: Children|
|Infants||1:5 or 2:11|
|1-year-old children||1:6 or 2:13|
|5-year-old children not school-age||1:20|
FACILITY PROGRAM AND EQUIPMENT
The child care center licensee must ensure that the health, safety, or welfare of an enrolled child is not endangered. The child care center must design a program that will ensure the following:
- Designated exits, corridors, and passageways that provide escape from the building are unobstructed and unlocked during hours of operations;
- Combustible materials will not be permitted to accumulate inside or outside the facility premises;
- Safe drinking water is readily accessible to every child;
- Activity areas are decorated with age-appropriate articles like mirrors and bulletin boards;
- Age-appropriate toys, materials, and equipment must be provided;
- Clean clothing is available to a child when a change of clothing is needed;
- The facility conforms with the rules about naptime;
- Written permission is obtained from the parent before allowing a child to participate in a swimming activity;
- Outdoor activities are scheduled to allow at least 75 square feet for each child occupying the facility’s outdoor activity area at any time;
- The facility’s buildings, grounds, and premises are kept in good repair and free from hazards;
- The facility conforms to the heating and cooling standards;
- The facility conforms to the lighting and electrical standards;
- The facility conforms to the accepted toilet standards;
- Storage space is provided for all the materials and supplies for napping and sleeping;
- All materials and chemicals labeled as toxic or flammable must be stored in areas that are not accessible to children; and
- Garden tools and other facility equipment presenting a hazard to children must be stored in areas that are inaccessible to children.
General Nutrition Standards
The child care center must provide meals to the children as follows: breakfast to children who are present at the facility before 8:00 a.m.; lunch to children who are present at the facility between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.; and dinner to children who are present at the facility between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and who will remain at the facility after 7:00 p.m.
If the child care center provides food, the preparation and serving of food must be in accordance with the meal pattern requirements found in the Table of Meal Pattern Requirements for Children. The center must maintain at least one day’s supply of food needed to serve meals and snacks to each child attending the facility. Second serving of food must be made available to each child in case it is requested.
General Food Service and Food Handling Standards
The child care center shall observe the following food service and food handling standards:
- Enrolled children, except infants and special needs children, must wash their own hands with soap and running water before handling or eating food;
- Staff member must wash with a washcloth the hands of an infant or special needs children before they handle or eat food;
- A child is not permitted to eat food directly off the floor, carpet, or ground or with utensils placed directly on the floor, carpet, or ground;
- Enrolled children must be encouraged, but not forced, to eat food;
- Enrolled children who needs assistance must be helped by staff members;
- Staff members must teach self-feeding skills and habits of good nutrition to each child;
- Fresh milk must be served directly from its original container and unused portions of individual servings are not to be returned to the original container;
- Reconstituted dry milk must not be served to meet the fluid milk requirement;
- Juice served to the children must be 100% vegetable or 100% fruit juice from original container;
- Staff members must be informed of any modified diet prescribed for a child by the child’s parent or a health care provider, and the modified diet is posted in the kitchen and the activity area;
- Enrolled children are not to be permitted into the kitchen during food preparation or food service;
- Kitchen or food storage area must not be used as passageway by children; and
- Weekly menu must be prepared by the center one week in advance.
Prepared menu must be dated and posted at least one day before the food is served. Substitution must be posted on the menu not later than the morning of the day of the meal service.
Discipline and Guidance
Staff members of a child care center must define and maintain consistent, reasonable rules, and limitations on a child behavior and teaches, models, and encourages orderly conduct, personal control, and age-appropriate behavior. They must explain to the child why a particular behavior is not allowed and must assist the child to become engaged in an alternative activity. A child that manifests behavior that may result in harm to self or others must be held until the child regains control or behavior.
The child care center must not allow any staff member to use or permit a method of discipline that could cause harm to the health, safety, or welfare of the child. Corporal punishment is not allowed nor discipline associated with eating, napping, or toileting will be tolerated.
Pets and Animals
The child care center must maintain written documentation of current immunization against rabies for each dog or cat owned by the licensee or staff member that is present on the premises of the facility. All pets and animals must have clean habitats. Reptiles such as turtles and snakes are not allowed in the premises of a child care facility. Pets and animals must be controlled to maintain cleanliness of the facility and prevent them from endangering a child, a staff member, or any other individuals on the premises.
Accident and Emergency Procedures
The child care center must have a first aid kit that is readily accessible to staff members but inaccessible to the children. The first aid kit must have supplies in a quantity that will be sufficient to meet the needs of the enrolled children. The kit must contain the following items:
- Assorted sizes of adhesive band-aids,
- Antiseptic solutions or wipes,
- Sterile bandages,
- Sterile gauze pads,
- A pair of scissors;
- Adhesive tape,
- Disposable latex gloves, and
- Reclosable plastic bags of at least one-gallon size.
A written accident, evacuation, and emergency plan must be maintained in locations accessible to staff members. The plan must be updated every 12 months from the date of initial preparation. The plan must include the location of the first aid kit, the names of staff members who have the required first aid and CPR training. Designated exit points in the building must be clearly labeled and evacuation areas clearly pinpointed. Exit routes must be lighted and must be free of any obstruction or hazard.
Child care centers that transport children in a motor vehicle it owns, or acquires for use by contract must ensure that the motor vehicle is registered by the Arizona Department of Transportation, must have current insurance coverage, and maintain documentation of the current motor vehicle insurance coverage on the facility and inside the motor vehicle. The motor vehicle must be maintained in a mechanically safe condition.
The person who will be driving the motor vehicle in transporting children must:
- Must be eighteen years of age or older;
- Holds of a valid driver’s license issued by the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles;
- Carry in the motor vehicle a list of the names of the children being transported;
- Require that each door be locked before the vehicle is set in motion;
- Require that each child remain seated and properly restrained in their seats before the vehicle is set in motion.
The child care center that will provide a field trip for a child must obtain a written permission from a parent before a child can participate in the field trip.
PHYSICAL PLANT OF A FACILITY
A child care facility must conform to the local building and fire codes, local zoning requirements, and the requirements of the Arizona Administrative Code.
The facility must meet the following square footage requirements for indoor activity areas based on the classification of child care services:
- At least 35 square feet of indoor activity space for each infant and 1-year old child;
- At least 25 square feet of indoor activity space for each child who is not an infant or 1-year old; and
- When 1-year-old children are grouped together with children older than 1-year old children in the same activity area, at least 35 square feet of indoor activity space for each child.
The child care center must provide for an outdoor activity area on the premises of the facility. The outdoor activity area must be enclosed by fence, must be free of hazards, and must have either vertical or horizontal open spaces on a fence that do not exceed 4 inches. The outdoor activity area must have gates that are kept closed while a child is in the outdoor activity area.
The child care center must install portable, pressurized fire extinguishers that meet at least a 2A-10-BC rating of the Underwriters Laboratories. The fire extinguishers must be installed and maintained in the center’s kitchen and other locations as required by the Uniform Fire Code.
FIND A DAYCARE OR CHILD CARE IN ARIZONA
- Apache Junction
- Bullhead City
- Camp Verde
- Casa Grande
- Casas Adobes
- Catalina Foothills
- Chino Valley
- Cottonwood-Verde Village
- Drexel Heights
- El Mirage
- Flowing Wells
- Fortuna Foothills
- Fountain Hills
- Green Valley
- Lake Havasu City
- Mohave Valley
- New Kingman-Butler
- New River
- Oro Valley
- Paradise Valley
- Picture Rocks
- Prescott Valley
- San Luis
- Show Low
- Sierra Vista
- Sierra Vista Southeast
- Sun City
- Sun City West
- Sun Lakes
- Tanque Verde
- Tuba City
- Tucson Estates
STATE LICENSING CONTACT
Some cities and/or counties in Arizona may have additional regulations or requirements for child care center licensing. Please check with your city and county government for more information about child care center licensing. The main licensing contact is:
Division of Licensing Services
Office of Child Care Licensing
Department of Health Services
150 N. 18th Avenue, Suite #400
Phoenix, AZ 85007-3224
Phone: (602)364-2539 – speak to the Surveyor on Duty
Web Page: http://www.azdhs.gov/als/childcare/