Start a Daycare in Maryland – Licensing – Regulations – Laws
Children are their parents’ top priority, so child care is a very important factor of their family life. Child care centers are the kids’ second home, and the parents want to make sure that the child care center they choose would be the right one for them.
The state of Maryland believes in the proper care of children as well, and so they have the Maryland Committee for Children to help parents and their children find the right Maryland child care center for their needs. This committee also works with child care providers and employers, as well as child care advocates and policymakers to help child care and early childhood education expand and enhance for the best interest of the children and their families.
Getting a License for a Child Care Center in Maryland
A license for operating a child care center in Maryland is processed and issued by the Maryland State Department of Education’s Office of Child Care (OCC). The OCC also guides child care center operators during the process, providing technical assistance and further information on laws and regulations.
Child care centers operated by tax-exempt religious organizations are registered to the OCC with a “letter of compliance”. This letter of compliance serves as a license with certain exemptions on program requirements and staff qualifications.
To help you start the registration process, contact your OCC Regional Licensing Office for information.
- Attend a child care center licensing orientation. Anyone who wishes to open and operate a child care center must first attend an orientation conducted by the Regional Licensing Office that covers your area of operations. Those applicants of operating a child care center with a letter of compliance are not required to attend, but they are strongly encouraged to participate. The orientation gives the child care center license applicants information on license requirements and the registration process. The orientation also helps the applicants become familiar with state laws and regulations that are important for operating a child care center in Maryland.
- Fill out and submit a completed application forms and other required items. The OCC Regional Licensing Office will give child care center license applicants an application packet. The applicant must accomplish the following requirements:
- A notice of intent to open and operate a child care center
The following should be submitted 60 days before the proposed opening date for the child care center:
- An OCC application form, containing a statement of truthfulness and commitment
- A complete list of personnel on a form provided by or approved by the OCC, including all the related supporting documents required by the OCC.
- Documentation on background check applications of the following people involved with the child care center to be opened: the applicant (if the applicant is someone who will frequently be in contact with the children that will be taken care of in the center), the child care center director, the employees, including paid substitute workers, and persons who are 14 years old and above residing on the same premises as the child care center.
- Signed and notarized permissions to view and examine records of neglect and abuse of children and adults for information about the following people: the child care center director, the employees, including substitutes, facility residents who are 18 years old and older, the applicant (if the applicant is someone who will interact with the children in care of in the center), and if the child care center applicant is a corporation, association, agency, or any other organizational entity, the company officials (managers, trustees, or board members) who will be in frequent contact with the children in care of the center.
- Complete medical evaluation results of all the individuals who will work in the child care facility, including the director and substitute and support personnel.
- Documentation on compliance with all applicable zoning, health, fire, and building codes
- Site plans
- Floor plans (with architectural details)
- A written plan of operation
- A fire evacuation plan
- Workers’ compensation insurance coverage information
- A complete staffing pattern on a form provided by or approved by the OCC, where the names of the staff members are written, along with all of their child care assignments
- Written policies on child discipline
- The child care center menu for the first four weeks of operation
- All other pertinent documentation required by law or regulation such as: proof of an on-site inspection by the local fire authority, and permits for building use and occupancy.
- Ensure the safety of the physical facility, and that it has proper equipment. The building where the child care center will be housed should be in good condition and it should meet all the requirements of all applicable building, fire, sanitary, lighting and food storage, food preparation and food service regulations of the state and local government. All the areas and equipment in the child care center should be safe and functional for the children in care.
- Pass all the required inspections. When all the other requirements are in place, an inspection shall be scheduled by an officer from the OCC, called a Regional Office licensing specialist. The inspection is to determine if the child care center and its child care program meet the child care center licensing regulations for Maryland. The inspection also serves as a chance to address any questions you may have about running a child care center. Fire, health, sanitation and other local inspections required by the government should also be passed. Inspections by the OCC do not incur any fees, but there may be fees for a fire inspection and such other inspections required by the local government agencies.
Fingerprint Scanning for Quicker Background Checks
Maryland now requires LiveScan fingerprinting and has authorized commercial fingerprinting services to perform fingerprint scanning and submit these fingerprints to the Maryland Criminal Justice Information System, allowing the quick processing and obtaining an individual’s criminal history record check. Contact the OCC for information on commercial fingerprinting services available in your area. There are private agencies and there are state-operated fingerprinting centers. In addition to the fees required by the government for criminal background checks, the private fingerprinting agencies may require additional service fees.
Steps for fast and accurate fingerprinting service:
- You must have an agency name and authorization number if you are requesting a background check for employment or licensing purposes
- You may also need an ORI number if your background check is being sent to a government agency
- You must bring and present a valid form of government-issued identification such as a driver’s license, passport, Military ID, Certificate of Naturalization, or Alien Registration Card
- Fill out a LiveScan pre-registration application form, print it and bring it to any fingerprinting center
- Bring payment as noted below. Major credit cards, checks, and money orders are accepted — cash is not accepted at state-operated fingerprinting centers.
The following fees are required to process each criminal background record check request:
Full background [state and FBI]
for authorized agencies only
- child care volunteers
$33.25 State background check only $18.00
- with Gold Seal
$19.00 Criminal Justice
- full background
- state only
No fee Attorney/Client civil $18.00 Attorney/Client pending criminal case No fee
When a Child Care Center License or Letter of Compliance is Issued
A child care license or letter of compliance will be issued when a license applicant has submitted all the necessary documents, and passed all the required inspections, and has met all the child care licensing standards of Maryland’s Office of Child Care.
The license issued will initially authorize the child care center to operate for two years, after which would require the child care center to apply for a continuing license (one that will be in effect until the license is surrendered, suspended, or revoked). The child care center should continue to comply with the laws and regulations to able to keep their license.
Routine inspections of child care centers in Maryland are done at least three times every two years. Two of these inspections are unannounced, casual drop-in visits to see if the child care center meets the child health and safety requirements. The third visit is an announced inspection. This includes an assessment of the compliance of the child care center to child health and safety requirements, and a comprehensive review of the child care center’s program records.
Child Care Center Operation Licensing Guidelines
Maryland state law provides guidelines in operating a child care center in the state. Observance and compliance of these guidelines ensures the approval and continued validity of a child care center license.
Management and Administration
A child care center may have more than one location. These multiple centers may be considered as a single center if the buildings function as an integrated center, and if these buildings are situated within close proximity of each other (such as across the street, or within the same campus) and are connected by an intercom system. The buildings should also be in the supervision of one child care center director to be treated as one center.
Child care centers in two or more locations can be considered as one center when these are managed by one central administration, with a single ownership, and these centers should share common administrative procedures, policies, and contracts.
Admission to Care
Children may only be admitted to be cared for in the child care center if the following requirements are met:
- The child care center must be duly licensed, meeting all regulatory requirements set by Maryland laws.
- The child care center must receive the required documentation on the child’s records. (Child record requirements will be discussed below.)
- The child care center must receive from the parents written information about the child’s individual needs
- The child care center must provide the parents (or give instructions on how to get) a consumer education pamphlet on child care that is supplied by the OCC. There should be written documentation that the pamphlet (or information on how to get it) has been provided to the parents.
- The child care center must be properly informed or provided by the parents of infants or toddlers admitted to the child care center of the following: (1) a feeding schedule which includes: the kinds of food and the amount consumed daily, the proper sequence of introducing solid food if there is any, and feeding recommendations from the baby’s doctor; (2) a written individual activity plan for the child; and (3) if the child is 12 months or older, the child care center must determine with the parents if the child needs a crib for rest purposes
- Lead screening is important for admission to the child care center. For children who are younger than 6 years old at the time of admission, their parents must submit lead screening results within 30 days. If the parents do not submit proof that the child has had an appropriate lead screening, the center operator may not allow a child to stay at the center
The child care center operator shall create and maintain the following records for at least two years after the records’ creation:
- Enrollment records (with each of the enrolled children’s names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth and the dates and time period that they were enrolled for)
- Attendance records (classified by groups, and indicating the dates of attendance of every enrolled child in the facility)
The following records shall also be maintained:
- Written discipline policies for the children
- Written procedures ensuring that the children are properly supervised at all times while they are in the child care center
- Written records of actual food served by the child care center every four weeks.
- Written logs of dates and times when emergency safety drills were performed
A copy of the child care center regulations should be posted in a place that can be seen and be readily available to child care center staff and the parents. Also, a copy of the consumer education pamphlet on child care that is supplied by the OCC should be made readily accessible for the parents’ reference.
he child care center operator shall maintain records on each of the children admitted to, and those already being cared for at the child care center. These records should be on forms provided or approved by the OCC. These records shall be readily accessible to staff members who are taking care of the children, and these records should be kept on file at the child care center during the period the child is enrolled at the facility, and for 2 years after the child has been disenrolled from the child care center.
The child care center operator shall obtain and maintain records on emergency information from the child’s parents. The emergency information record should be signed and dated by the parent. This emergency information record shall be updated annually. This information should be readily accessible to every staff member providing care for the child, including during an off-site activity. The emergency information record shall contain:
- The child’s name and birth date
- The parents’ full name, their current address, and their home and work telephone numbers
- The name and telephone number of the person authorized to pick up the child from the facility each day
- The name and telephone number of at least one person authorized to pick up the child in an emergency
- The name, address, and telephone number of the child’s doctor or other health care provider
- If the child has a special health condition, the record should have emergency medical instructions for that condition
A child should also have a health assessment on record at the child care center (unless the parents object to a medical examination because of certain religious practices or beliefs).
The health assessment record should contain:
- A parental statement of the child’s health status
- If any, a statement of the child’s allergies
- A medical evaluation stating that the child is medically cleared to attend child care. This evaluation should be signed and dated by the child’s physician
For children younger than 6 years old, lead screening results are required to be on record at the child care center.
The child care center must also obtain and keep on file immunization records on each child, proof that they have received the proper immunization before they were admitted to the center.
In the event that parents refuse medical evaluation and immunization due to conflict with religious practices or beliefs, the parents are required to provide a medical history for the child center’s records. The parents must also sign a statement that indicates that, to the best of the parent’s knowledge and belief, the child’s health is health and the child free from any communicable disease.
The child care center must also maintain on file the following:
Any incident of acute illness that caused a child to be excluded from attending child care, any injury or accident (and should be reported to the OCC); records of children’s medications; information on a child’s special diet, if any — a written prescription from the child’s physician or written instructions from the parents; written consent from parents when the children need to take part in child center off-site activities, and if applicable, there should be a file on any request by the parents on the use of a crib for children 12 months old or older.
Also, daily records of the amounts and kinds of food (liquid or solid) consumed by the center’s infants and toddlers. The records shall be: dated and maintained on file for at least 4 weeks; accessible in the infant and toddler feeding areas, and should be made available for the reference of the child’s parents.
Records on the instructions on children’s individual needs supplied by the parents upon the children’s admission to the child care center need to be reviewed by the center operator every 12 months after these children’s admission to the facility.
The child care center operator shall maintain a current and list of the members of the center staff, a copy of which shall be submitted to the OCC as a licensing requirement. This list includes every person, whether paid or unpaid, who works at the child care center on a regular basis.
Each member of the child care center staff will have files containing the following information:
- Child care experience
- Function or position in the facility
- Proof that the staff member’s age complies with the minimum age requirement for the position held
- Medical evaluation
- Criminal background check results
Substitute workers and emergency support personnel are required to have records too. In addition, the substitutes need to file the days when he worked as a substitute, and who he substituted for.
Changes and/or additions to the staff, and certain incidents like death of a child enrolled in the center, medical treatment given to the children while in care or even hospitalization, and accidents or injuries at the center, or during a field trip should be reported to the OCC.
Likewise, when an employee’s criminal background check reveals a conviction, probation or any criminal charges (or pending charges), this information should also be reported to the OCC. If an employee is under investigation for a criminal charge or allegations of child abuse or neglect, this should be reported as well.
The OCC should be notified when there are changes at the child care center which may affect the facility’s license status such as: facility residents, center operations or telephone number.
Change of Operation
Any changes in the child center operation should be reported to the OCC. A request for change is required and approval from the OCC is needed before any changes can be implemented.
The OCC shall determine the capacity of a child care center after proper inspection. The criteria are:
- Floor space
- Outdoor activity space
- Ages of the children to be enrolled
- Sanitary facilities
- Applicable codes, including zoning, building, and fire codes
The total number of children in care at one time should be limited to the capacity approved by the office.
Enrollment and Attendance
Attendance should be taken note of the children in care at any one given time to ensure compliance with capacity, group size, and staff to child ratio regulations.
A child may not be enrolled in the center for more than 14 hours (in a 24 hour period) unless approved of in advance by the OCC.
A child care center operator may not admit any infant younger than 6 weeks old.
A child care center may only accept a child when the center has the OCC’s approval to care for children in that child’s age group.
Physical Facility and Equipment Requirements
Building Safety and Road Accessibility
A child care center should be housed in a building that is if sound construction. It should be maintained in good condition, and should be clean (free from insect and rodent infestation), and should be free from safety hazards.
The child care center operator needs to make sure that there is an access road where emergency vehicles can pass through during the time the center is open and children are in care.
Indoor Space and Building Repair and Maintenance
Upon the inspection of the OCC, the facility’s indoor space shall be measured to see if it provides the required minimum of 35 square feet of floor space for every child in care of the center. In a small facility, the indoor space for children may include space within the family living area. In centers that take care of infants and toddlers, diapering stations will be part of the calculation of space provided for each child.
Children should not be on the center premises when there is building maintenance and repair that may pose a risk to the children’s safety and health.
Ventilation and Temperature, Water Supply and Sanitary Facilities and Supplies
A room in the child care center may be used for child care if: (1) it has natural or mechanical ventilation that provides an adequate exchange of air, to ensure that the children are healthy and comfortable; (2) it is free of dampness or moisture; and (3) it has a temperature at floor level of not less than 65° F.
The child care center should have hot and cold running water, with the hot water temperature not more than 120° F.
At least one drinking water source should be provided to every 40 children in care of the center. The drinking source should be easily and safely accessible by kids 2 years or older without requiring the assistance of an adult, and it should no be located in a toilet or a sink used for handwashing. The drinking water should be supplied by the following ways:
- Licensed bottled water in the original container
- A drinking fountain that is angle-jet and has a mouthguard
- Running water, provided there are single service drinking cups available
- Another method or source approved by the OCC
The center must also provide one toilet and one sink for the use every 15 children 2 years old or older. The toilet and sink should be maintained in good repair and should be kept clean, and should be easily accessible to the children and is constructed in a way that allows children to use the toilet and sink unassisted. Each toilet should have sanitary supplies such as soap, paper towels, a trash bin, and toilet paper. These supplies should be stored within reach of the child using the toilet unassisted.
Likewise, a toilet should be provided for adults as well.
Children’s toiletries and grooming items, towels, face cloths, brushes, and combs, as well as drinking cups, may not be shared.
There should be proper and sufficient natural and artificial lighting in the areas where child care will be provided, as well as in the outdoor areas on the premises to ensure proper child supervision, and to ensure the safety of the children, personnel and visitors of the child care center.
Telephone and Communication
There should be telephones readily and easily available to the staff members during the approved hours of operation. There should be working telephones in rooms where care for babies and toddlers are provided, and additional telephones or extensions shall be provided to be able to summon emergency fire and rescue immediately, and to be able to pass along and receive emergency communication.
General Cleanliness and Disposal of Refuse
The child care center shall be maintained clean and free from insect and rodent infestation. Cleaning should not be done with the children present, except if it is an emergency, or if is the clean up that is part of a daily program activity.
Every room in the child care center used for child care should have a trash container with a disposable liner. All trash bins shall be emptied when full at least once a day. Waste placed outside for pickup by the garbage collector should be placed in containers that are made of tight, non-absorbent, easily washable materials, with tight-fitting lids. These trash containers should be washed and treated with disinfectant regularly — in order to avoid foul odors and prevent infestation.
Outdoor Activity Area
The child care center should have in its premises, or near its premises, an outdoor play area. This activity area and its play equipment should be clean, and free from health and safety hazards.
If the child care center has a swimming pool, it should meet all the health, sanitation, and safety standards for it to be approved for use.
Minimum Staff Age and Staff Orientation
Child care center staff members must not be younger than 16 years old.
The child care center operator should make sure that the staff members have been informed in writing the following of the following things that are important to the health and safety of the children:
- Where the telephone and emergency telephone numbers are located
- Where to find each child’s emergency form
- Emergency evacuation procedures
- Which staff members know first aid and have had CPR training
- Which staff members and other adults are required to be available to provide emergency coverage
- Handwashing procedures
- The child care center’s child discipline policy
- The requirements and procedures for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect.
- Signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect in children
- The most current regulations in child care
Each staff member should have a medical evaluation, including a tuberculosis screen, submitted to the child center operator, proving a clean bill of health to be able to provide child care at the center.
General Requirements for Child Care Center Director
The child care center director should be present at the facility at least half of the center’s operating hours each week. The director shall supervise the staff, plan and oversee all aspects of the program for the children, and be available to the staff, parents and children.
A child care center director must be least 21 years old, have received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalence, or have completed at least two college or university courses for credit.
The director must have successfully completed trainings relevant to the director role as directed by the child care regulations of the state.
Senior staff members should be at least 19 years old, have received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalence, or have completed at least two college or university courses for credit. They should have received the OCC-approved training, and either 1 year supervised child care work experience. Those who are at least 19 years old and hold AA degree in early childhood education or recreation are also qualified, as well as those individuals approved or certified by State Department of Education as teachers for nursery through third grade.
Child Supervision Guidelines
Individualized Attention and Care and Supervision by Qualified Staff
The child care center operator must make sure that each child’s individual needs receive attention, and that each child is properly supervised at all times. The operator must also make sure that the personnel providing care for the child is well-aware of the child’s individual needs and should be prepared to provide care for the child accordingly. Children will be under close supervision whenever the kids are using potentially dangerous activity materials or equipment such as scissors, sharp tools, or knives. The child care center operator must always ensure that the staff to child ratio is always met, and staff members are trained and equipped to provide child care.
Group Size and Staffing and Variations in Group Size
Same age groups
|Child Ages||Staff/Child Ratio||Maximum Group Size|
|2 years old||1 to 6||12|
|3 or 4 years old||1 to 10||20|
|5 years old and older||1 to 15||30|
|Group Composition||Group Size||Minimum Staffing Level|
|Group includes one to three 2 year old children||7 to 10||1 staff member|
|Group includes four or more 2 year
|7 to 10||2 staff members|
|Group includes one to three 2 year
|13 to 20||2 staff members|
|Group includes four to six 2 year
|13 to 20||3 staff members|
|Child Ages||Staff/Child Ratio||Maximum Group Size|
|Infants (6 weeks old to 18 months
|1 to 3||6|
|Toddlers (18 months old to 2 years
|1 to 3||9|
|Infants and toddlers, with 1 to 2
infants in the group
|1 to 3||9|
|Infants and toddlers, with 3 or
more infants in the group
|1 to 3||6|
Mixed-Age Infant/Toddler Groups
|Group Composition||Minimum Staffing Level||Maximum Group Size|
|Group includes 1 or 2 infants||2 staff members||9|
|Group includes 3 or more infants||2 staff members||6|
|Group includes 1 or 2 toddlers||2 staff members||12|
|IGroup includes 3 toddlers||2 staff members||9|
|Group includes 4 or more toddlers||3 staff members||9|
|Group includes no infants, 1 or 2 toddlers, and 6 or more 2 year olds||3 staff members||12|
Supervision During Water Activities, Playground and Rest Time Supervision
Children who take part in water activities must have written permission from their parents. The children should have one-on-one supervision from the staff. In case of pool water exceeding 4 feet, aside from the staff members, there should be certified lifeguards present at the waterside during swimming activities.
During outdoor play time, staff members will supervise the children by stationing themselves among the children to be able to intervene immediately if necessary, and if any of the children display signs of discomfort due to the weather, temperature or over-activity, or due to any other physical or environmental factors, immediate aid to alleviate the discomfort should be given.
During rest time, the child to staff ratio shall be maintained for kids younger than 2 years old, and all assigned staff members to that age group should stay with the children. For children 2 years old or older, the child to staff ratio shall be maintained until all the children are resting quietly. Once all the children are settled, at least one child care provider assigned to the group shall stay in the room with the children, while the other assigned staff members may leave the room but should remain in the premises, and should be within hearing range.
Schedule of Daily Activities for All Children
The child center operator needs to prepare, post and follow a daily activity program for the children, with activities that are developmentally appropriate for them. These activities should encourage emotional, social, intellectual, and physical growth of each child. The program should include opportunities for individual and group participation, self-selected and staff-directed activities, and a balance between active and quiet time. Rest periods shall be part of their daily activities, according to what meets their developmental and individual needs.
Activity Materials, Equipment, and Furnishings, Rest Furnishings
Child care centers should have sufficient activity materials to accommodate all of the children. A quantity and variety of activity materials, equipment, and furnishings should be provided accordingly, based on the children’s age, interests, and developmental needs.
A child care center’s equipment and materials should be safe and appropriate for the children, which allow them various experiences, and cater to their interests and developmental levels. These can be for active play, creative and dramatic play, socialization, manipulation (like building blocks or construction materials), art, music, language arts, and science exploration, and for individual pursuits.
The activity materials should be in good condition, clean, non-toxic, and free from health hazards like lead paint. They should be easily accessible to the children.
Child-sized furniture or those appropriately adapted for the children’s use should be provided by the center. Individual, comfortable and secure sleeping and resting equipment shall be provided for the children, suited for their age and individual needs.
Appropriate storage for shall be provided for materials and equipment, rest or sleeping equipment, portable equipment for outdoor use, and materials, equipment, furnishings, and supplies being held in reserve. Also, each child’s clothing and possessions should be stored in their individual space.
Emergency Safety Requirements
Every child care center should have a list of contact numbers and emergency numbers (such as 911 to call for fire, police, and rescue services) posted by the telephone.
The important contact numbers and information should be:
- The center’s name, address, and telephone number;
- The telephone number of the child protection unit of the local department of social services;
- The telephone number of a poison control center
- The name and telephone number of the local health department or a physician (to be able to easily consult them about health issues and illnesses
- The name and telephone number of the available emergency support personnel or the authorized emergency contact for the center
- The telephone number of the OCC
The child center operator should have devised an emergency evacuation plan approved by the local fire authority, with safe routes and an emergency evacuation center where the children and staff can stay until the parents have been contacted. This plan must be posted in conspicuous places in the facility, and emergency evacuation drills should be performed at least once a month to prepare the staff and the children.
First Aid and CPR
The child care center should have, at all times, whether during in-facility or off-site activities, a staff member who is trained and certified with basic first aid and CPR skills.
A first aid kit should be conveniently accessible for each group of children at the center and at an off-site activity.
Potentially Hazardous Items
Cleaning agents and other hazardous chemicals should be clearly and correctly labeled, properly stored away food and beverages, and out of children’s reach, and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Electrical sockets should be properly capped or plugged according to the fire code safety regulations.
Exclusion for Acute Illness
The staff members should monitor the children for signs or symptoms of an acute illness, and if these signs or symptoms are detected, the parents or guardian should be notified. An ill child should be temporarily isolated, placed and cared for in a room suited for this purpose.
The child may be excluded from child care during this period of illness, and may only be readmitted to the center (if away for 3 days or longer) with a written statement from the parents or physician that the child is now able to return to the regular schedule.
Infectious and Communicable Diseases, and Preventing Spread of Disease
Children or staff members who appear to be carrying or have been exposed to an infectious and communicable disease should be reported to the health office.
Proper handwashing procedures are provided to the child care center by the OCC, and these procedures should be followed by everyone in the facility — from the center staff and volunteers to the children being cared for.
Proper handwashing should be observed after toilet use, or diapering, before food preparation or eating, and after an outdoor activity or handling an animal.
Medication Administration and Storage
The children’s medication may be administered by the center staff only with parental permission, completed and signed and dated on a medication authorization form. Instructions on administering the medication shall be provided. Administered medication shall be put on the child’s record.
Stored children’s medication at the center should be properly labeled with the child’s name, the dosage and the expiration date. These medications should be stored as directed by the manufacturer, the pharmacy or the prescribing physician. All medication shall be kept out of children’s reach, but should be easily accessible to those staff members designated to administer medication.
Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs
Smoking, consumption of alcoholic beverages or the use of illegal drugs are prohibited on the child care center premises, and during hours of operation, and no alcohol or drugs should be consumed by an employee during an off-site activity.
Food and beverages served by the child care center shall comply with the guidelines of the Child and Adult Care Food Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Meals and snacks should be provided accordingly, based on the child care center’s hours of operation. If the child care center operator chooses not to provide meals, arrangements with the parents should be made to provide food for meals. The child care center should have nutritious food available in order to provide food to a child that has not brought food from home.
A weekly menu of foods and beverages to be provided by the child care center shall be posted in a conspicuous place. Also, the child care center operator should keep a dated record of the food actually served at the center at least every 4 weeks.
For children with special dietary needs, the child care center operator should keep records on dietary instructions from the physician or the parents to be able to provide for the child’s needs.
The food served at the child care center should be wholesome, unspoiled, free from filth, or other contamination, from a source that is compliant with food, food processing, food handling, and food labeling laws. If catered, the food should be from a duly-licensed food service facility or food processing facility.
Spoiled fruits and vegetables and other food, refrozen food, potentially hazardous frozen food that has been thawed but has not been immediately cooked and served; rusty, swelled, or leaky canned goods and foods that have been exposed to fire, smoke or water damage should be immediately disposed of.
Food Storage and Preparation
Food shall be protected from contamination while it is being stored, prepared or served. All food shall be prepared and handled in sanitary ways. There should be sufficient storage space for all food, at a dry, cool, well-ventilated, well-lighted area that has shelving that is easily to clean. The storage area should be at least 6 inches off the floor to facilitate cleaning.
Single service items like disposable cups, spoons and forks and the like shall not be used more than once, and shall be properly dispensed after use.
Food Preparation Area and Equipment
The food preparation area should be in good condition, clean and sanitary. All equipment should be in proper working order, with food contact surfaces smooth, clean and in good repair. Sufficient refrigerator space and a cooking exhaust hood should also be provided.
Food preparation utensils and equipment, as well as those used in food service, shall be cleaned, sanitized and stored properly.
Food preparation and food service staff should observe proper handwashing procedures before and after preparing and serving food at the center.
The Maryland State Department of Education Office of Child Care
The Office of Child Care is responsible for regulating child care in the state. It also facilitates new developments in child care resources, monitoring the compliance of caregivers in Maryland, and provides technical assistance to child care providers and parents.
The OCC Licensing Branch handles all child care licensing activities such as issuance or re-issuance of child care licenses, monitoring the compliance of these child care providers to state regulations, investigates complaints of improper or even illegal child care, enforces the law against child care providers that violate regulations. The Licensing Branch also helps child care providers to achieve and maintain compliance to regulations.
Overall, the OCC and its Licensing Branch are involved in protecting the health and safety of children in child care in Maryland.
Child Care Licensing Agency
Maryland Department of Education
Division of Early Childhood Development
Office of Child Care
311 W. Saratoga Street, 1st Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: (410) 767-7128
Toll Free: (800) 332-6347
Fax: (410) 333-8699