Do you need a Daycare License?
In some situations and in some states a daycare license may not be required. These might include recreational programs operated for less than four consecutive months in a year like summer camp, or specialized activities/programs or instruction such as athletics, dance, art, music lessons, horseback riding, gymnastics, or organized clubs for children, such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H groups, or boys and girls clubs. Drop-in or short-term care provided while parents participate in activities that are not employment relate may not require a license. Daycare situations where the parents are on the premises or otherwise easily accessible, such as drop-in or short-term care provided in shopping malls, resort hotels, or churches, may not require a license.
Can you just register your daycare business?
In some states, your daycare business does not require licensing. Instead your state laws may only require that you register your in-home family daycare. Some states have no regulations or licensing requirements for in-home daycare facilities. These include Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota and Virginia. In some parts of Florida, licensing a daycare is optional but you are required to register your daycare business annually with the state. The exception is if the licensure is required under a specific county ordinance or resolution. Check with daycareforms.org for information and forms for getting your daycare licensed.
The Benefits of having a Daycare license
Even if your situation does not require a daycare license there are many benefits of having your daycare business licensed:
- Increase and retain clients: Parents feel more secure knowing they are sending their child to a licensed daycare.
- Daycare grant benefits: many daycare grant opportunities are strictly for licensed daycare businesses.
- Insurance benefits: You may not be eligible for insurance coverage necessary to protect your daycare business if it is not licensed.
- Tax breaks: Some daycare owners don’t get license in order to avoid taxes but consider that the deductions may offset the taxes you will pay.
Retaining the Daycare License
In order to keep your daycare license you must comply with state in-home daycare standards and regulations. This include complying with standards for things like supervision of children, the condition of equipment and materials, child discipline, child to staff ratios, sanitation practices, etc. These regulations will vary from state to state, but in order to keep the license, in home daycares must maintain a certain level of compliance history for a certain length of time. Most licensing agencies will record your compliance history and perform annual unannounced site visits to evaluate compliance.
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