Start a Daycare in Mississippi – Licensing – Regulations – Laws
|START A DAYCARE IN MISSISSIPPI||DAYCARE LICENSE CERTIFICATE|
|WRITTEN POLICIES||PERSONNEL REQUIREMENTS|
|STAFF/CHILD RATIOS||FIND A DAYCARE OR CHILD CARE IN MISSISSIPPI|
The local state of Mississippi requires all day care centers that will operate for business to be regulated. The state requires the day care center operators to file a notification/registration to the authority within 60 days of beginning operation. Anyone who wishes to establish a day care center needs to get a license from the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS). The department will only exempt the day care center from a getting a license if the daycare center will operate under the auspices of a religious institution.
This religious institution should have a tax exempt status as a
nonprofit religious institution in accordance with the section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.
To get a license, the applicant needs to pay registration fees and administrative charges in form of certified check or money order payable to the Mississippi department of Health. These fees are non-refundable. Checks that are returned for closed accounts, insufficient funds, etc., shall be charged an additional $50 fee.
- Initial Registration Fee……………………………….$100.00
- Registration Renewal Fee…………………………..$100.00
- Reinstatement Fee…………………………………….$200.00
- Returned Check Fee…………………………………$ 50.00
- Late Fee…………………………………………………$ 25.00
- Fingerprinting Fee (Per Fingerprint Card)………$ 50.00
Note: All the fees above, except the fingerprinting fee which can be shouldered by a governmental entity, need to be paid for by the operators of the facility. In addition, if the entity exempt from licensure apply for a license, it will be subjected to all fees listed in this section.
Requirement for Starting a Day Care Center Certificate of Inspection by Fire Department
The facility should pass the fire inspection conducted by the fire department of the municipality or other political subdivision in which the child care center is located. If there is no fire department that exists near the location of the facility, the State Fire Marshall will be the department that will certify that the building is free from fire hazards. The fire inspection certificate should be signed by a signatory authority of the fire inspection authority conducting the inspection.
Initial Notification Requirement
During the initial filling of notification that a Child Care Center is intending to operate, the executive director of the Child Care Center give the following information to the department through the forms provided by the department:
- Name, the physical address, mailing address and contact number of the center.
- Name of the executive director, board of directors, and all the staff working in the center.
- Name and description of the agency or organization operating the facility, which will identify if the agency or organization is incorporated.
- If the center is sponsored by another organization, the name and address of that organization is required.
- The list of all the names of the children enrolled in the center. The list should also include:
Full name and a copy of the child’s birth certificate;
Name and address of parent(s) or guardian(s); and
Name and address of other nearest relative.
School(s) attended by the children served by such home.
- Fire inspection certificate issued by the local fire department of the State Fire Marshall.
- Local health department inspection certificate.
- Documents that will prove that the facility has performed:
Criminal record background checks for all the staff;
Felony record background checks on all employees, prospective
employees, volunteers and prospective volunteers of the facility,
Such records are maintained to the extent permitted by law, for every such employee, prospective employee, volunteer, and prospective volunteer. These background investigation documents should be accomplished by submitting fingerprints through the MDH to the
Department of Public Safety and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Every child day care center required to have a written discipline policy. This policy should be properly communicated and approved in writing by the family of the child, especially be the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the child.
Facility Policy and Procedures
Before accepting the child in the day care center, the parents should be provided with the following:
- Information on how the center will operate. The parents should know the facility’s purpose, the limitations of the service provided, the mission, and religious affiliation, if any. The facility should provide a leaflet or a handbook containing the center’s name, contact number, physical address, contact number of the operator, director or the facility’s designee who can be reached after the facility’s normal hours of operation. The handbook should also introduce to the parent the authority of persons responsible for the facility’s day to day operation. The parents should also know what programs and services are being provided depending on their children’s age. They should be well-informed of the hours and days of operation of the center in every day basis, including holidays. The center should also discuss the tuition, the monthly dues, terms of payment, as well as policies regarding delinquent payments. It is very important for parents to understand the coverage of the insurance for their children, or the statement that accident insurance is not provided by the center. If the center will not provide liability insurance, there should be a document that will state that the parents know that the facility does not carry liability insurance. There should be also an understanding between the parents and the facility as to the reasons when the child can be removed from the roll. The parents should understand the circumstances and procedures for the removal of the children in the roll. The center should also inform the parents as to the maximum hours per day or week that a child can be left in the center.
- Information on how the child will arrive and depart from the center. The facility should have a clear plan that needs to be communicated to the parents regarding the arrival and departure of the children. The procedure should indicate how the child can safely arrive and depart to and from the center. The procedure should also include information on protecting the children from traffic and other hazards during arrival and departure, especially when children are crossing streets. The facility should also create a policy for the release of the children from the center only to responsible persons. This should also include information on parent picking up a child after the regular hours or operation or procedures if a child is not picked up.
- Information regarding the programs and activities for the children. This should include the procedures on how the facility will store the child’s personal belongings. The proper ways of disciplining a child should also be included here. This should also include information regarding transportation and safety policies and procedures. The facility should also create policies prohibiting taking pictures of a child without the consent of the parents. The facility should also inform the parents on the extracurricular activities not sponsored by the facility, including but not limited to basketball, ballet, softball, gymnastics, soccer, etc. This should also contain information regarding water activities and safety procedures. The parents should be informed that these activities will take place away from the child care facility property like public swimming pools.
- Information on how the facility will respond to emergency cases. This should include information on storing and giving child medications; reporting suspected child abuse cases, policies for emergency medical care, treatment of illnesses and accidents; evacuation plan for severe emergency scenarios, and how the facility will handle dangerous situations, including but not limited to, dealing with violent individuals, individuals entering facility with deadly weapons, bomb threats, or conditions that is deemed threatening to the safety and welfare of the children.
- State regulations. The parents should receive a copy of licensing standards and other materials designated by the licensing agency for distribution. They should also be given the toll free 1-866-489-8734, directed to the Child Care Facility Complaint Hot Line, where they can make complaint if the center has some irregularities.
Policies Against Smoking and Illegal Substances
For the safety and health of the children in the center, smoking, the use of tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, and illegal drugs should be prohibited within the physical confines of a child care facility, and on all outdoor playground areas. The facility can specify some areas where these products can be permitted. These designated areas should be outside the physical confines of a child care facility and far from the outdoor play area to make sure that these areas is out of presence of children. These areas should be a place where children cannot observe the staff and volunteers smoking or using tobacco products in the course of normal daily activities.
The facility should make the parents know that they have access to the child care facility at all times. Welcome access means that the parent has access to the areas of the facility anytime as long as it will not disrupt the normal daily activities.
Changes in Facility Operations
The operator should immediately notify the licensing authority of any major changes affecting areas of the child care facility’s operations. These changes might include to the operator, director, location of the center, and number of children served.
Posting of Information
The following information should be posted conspicuously in the center at all times:
- Areas that are accessible to the staffs and parents:
- Daily activity schedule
- Fire Inspection certificate and the Menus and Food Service Permit, if
- Emergency route, exit doors.
- The information where and how the parents can report a complaint against the facility.
- In kitchens:
- Evacuation route
- Food Service Permit/Inspection Form
- The evacuation route/emergency exits in all rooms utilized by children.
All firearms in the home should be equipped with trigger locks and should be kept in lockers inside a secure room that is not accessible to the children. These include dangerous weapons like spears, hunting knives, machetes, archery equipment, etc.
General Requirements for Personnel
- All the employees in the center, whether they are working full time, part time, temporary, substitute, or volunteer, should be of good moral character. They should also meet the minimum qualifications for the respective job classification as discussed in these regulations.
- Any person who, in the opinion of the licensing authority, appears to be unable to physically or mentally take care of the children in regular basis and/or in emergency situations should not be allowed to act as caregiver or a caregiver assistant. The person whose physical and mental situation is in question, may be requested by the licensing authority to perform the following: a. Physical ability to guide the children during a fire drill in less than two minutes; b. Ability to read medical directions and properly handle medication to children.
Criminal Record (Fingerprinting), Sex Offender Records Checks, Child Abuse Central Registry Checks
All people working in the center, from its operator, director, staff, and any person residing in the center should have a criminal records background (fingerprint), sex offender record checks, and child abuse central registry checks.
- An individual can still be allowed to work in the center prior to the completion of child abuse central registry, criminal records (fingerprint) check and sex offender registry check. However, they will not be allowed to provide unsupervised care to the children if these requirements are not yet completed.
- Any person who will serve as a volunteer to the center for 120 or more hours per licensure year should be required to have 1 criminal record, child abuse central registry checks, and sex offender registry check to include being fingerprinted, and (2) valid Immunization Compliance Form #121.
- Individuals younger than 18 years old are not required to be fingerprinted however they should not be left alone taking care of the children.
- Once the licensing authority have verified that the fingerprint checks, child abuse central registry checks, and sex offender registry checks of all the personnel in the center as having no disqualified conditions, a letter shall be issued to the person fingerprinted stating that they are eligible to be employed in the center. The employer should also be given a copy of the notification letter. This letter is valid for a period of five (5) years from the date on the letter unless otherwise voided. All people working/ residing in the center is required to be fingerprinted every five (5) years.
- If an individual is found to be unsuitable for employment in the center, they will be notified by the licensing authority explaining the instructions regarding the appeal process. The employer will also receive a copy of the non-suitability letter. The director can make his own decision whether or not an individual will remain employed in the center.
- If it is determined by the licensing authority that acceptable fingerprints cannot be obtained from an individual, an alternative method of obtaining a criminal records check may be used. In this case, the concerned individual may be notified in writing of the process they are to follow. Failure to follow that procedure can result in the individual to be considered unsuitable to work in center.
Child Care Director Qualifications
A child director should be at least 21 years of age and shall meet the following requirements:
- A bachelors degree in early childhood education, elementary education, child care, psychology (with specialization in child psychology), special education, or family and consumer sciences (with emphasis on child development), or equivalent degree from another child related
field or course of study;
- two-year associate degree from a recognized community or junior college
in child development technology which should include a minimum of 480
hours of practical training, supervised by college instructors, in a college
operated child care learning laboratory.
- A two-year associate degree from a recognized community or junior
College in child development technology or child care and two (2) years
experience in a licensed child care facility.
- Two years experience as a caregiver in another day care center,
and either (1) a current Child Development Associate (CDA) credential
from the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition (CECPR),
or (2) a Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) Office for
Children and Youth (OCY) Director’s Child Care Credential, or (3) 24
semester hours credit with a grade of “C” or higher from a recognized
college or university in courses specific to early childhood;
- A verified certificate from the licensing agency certifying that the
individual was qualified to be the director of a licensed child care facility
prior to January 1, 2000 in the State of Mississippi.
Caregivers should be at least 18 years of age, and must have the following qualifications:
- A high school diploma or equivalent (GED);
- A current CECPR Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, or an
MDHS OCY Director’s Child Care Credential,
- Three (3) years prior documented experience taking care of children who are under 13 years of age and who are not related to the caregiver within the
third degree computed according to civil law.
Staff who did not meet the requirements of education and/or experience to act as a caregiver shall be designated as caregiver assistants.
Caregiver assistants should be at least 16 years of age. They should work under the direct on-site supervision of a director or caregivers at all times. They should not have the direct responsibility for a group of children without the supervision of senior staff. Caregiver assistants under the age of 18 should not be given the authority to discipline children.
Students should only be allowed to do their field study placement, a practicum, or vocational child care training program may assist in the care of the children when the following conditions have been met:
- Students that are 18 years old or older that will serve in the facility for 120 or more hours per licensure year should have a record on file in the facility which should contain the following:
- Name, date of birth, address, and contact number;
- Name and contact number of a person from the school or
university placing the student;
- The start date of the student placement and daily record of hours student is present;
- Mississippi Department of Health Certificate of Immunization
Compliance Form 121;
- Documentation that the criminal records check (fingerprinting), and
child abuse central registry checks have been completed and that they did not commit any.
- They should be given a minimum of one hour of orientation, within one
(1) week of placement, which will discuss the child abuse law and reporting procedures, emergency procedures, and facility discipline and transportation policies.
Students who are below the age of 18 years of age and who are in a child care facility for 120 or more hours per licensure year shall have a record on file in the center which should contain all of the above listed material with the
exception of Item 5. The center should document the time that a student is
at the facility.
No student shall be left alone with children unless an approved
criminal records check is on file.
Use of Director Designee
A director designee is a person designated to act as the director, taking care of all responsibility and authority of a director, during the director’s
At a minimum, the director designee must have a high school diploma or
GED and four (4) years paid experience in a licensed child day care center or
licensed/accredited kindergarten program. A director designee should not take the role of a director in a facility for more than twenty four (24)
total hours per calendar week.
The Director Designee may serve for a maximum of fourteen
(14) consecutive days during a licensure year. This exception will only be used once during the licensure year for the purpose of allowing the
director to take personal leave, i.e., vacation, jury duty, etc.
When the director designee is in charge of the facility, he should have full
access to all documents of the center that are necessary for the licensing
agency to conduct an inspection or complaint investigation. These
documents shall include staff records, safety inspections, children’s records and any other material or documents required for inspection.
The owners, directors, and director designees of the child care center should complete a mandatory training on courses covering Childcare Regulations, Playground Safety, and New Director Orientation either before a license to operate is granted or within the first six months after the issuance of a new license. If the director or director designee is chosen after the issuance of the license, the mandatory training courses should be completed by them within the first six months of appointment. However, with the sole discretion of the licensing agency, mandatory training may be waived after the submission of documentation of individual’s prior completion of relevant training.
On the other hand, the staffs, director, director designees, and caregivers shall be required to complete 15 contact hours of staff development, accumulated during the licensure year, annually. In addition, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a leading organization in child care and early child care development recommends the following training based on the needs of the program and the preservice qualification of the staff. Training should be composed of the following:
- Health and safety;
- Child growth and development;
- Planning learning activities;
- Guidance and discipline techniques;
- Linkages with community services;
- Communications and relations with families;
- Detection of child abuse;
- Advocacy for early childhood programs;
- Professional issues.
- The number of hours devoted for staff development shall be approved by the licensing agency.
- All volunteers should be given at least one (1) hour of orientation by
the facility director. This orientation should include a review of the child abuse law and reporting requirements, emergency exit procedures, and the facility transportation policy.
- Before a temporary license is upgraded to a regular license, the
owner/operator and director of the center should complete a minimum of four (4) hours of staff development training on the Regulations Governing
Licensure of Child Care Facilities, three (3) hours of New Director
Orientation, and three (3) hours training in playground safety as provided
by the MSDH.
Child- Staff Ratio
The following should be the minimum ratio of staff-to-children:
|Age of Children||Number of Children to Caregiver Staff|
|Less than 1 year||4|
|5 through 9 years||20|
|10 through 12 years||25|
This ratio should be observed at all times, including during opening/closing, field trips and swimming/water activities, inside or outside the premises of the center.
In the mixed age groups, the age of the youngest child in the group will determine that staff-to-child ratio. Preschool aged children should not be grouped with school aged children in any single area during normal classroom, playground and water activities. During their rest periods, children should be under the direct supervision (staff in the same room) of 50 percent of the staff required by this section, except for children under two (2) years of age. However, the required staff-to-child ratio should not be sacrificed.
At no time should a single staff be responsible for the supervision of children located in more than one classroom at any given time.
Animals and Pets
The only animals and pets that can be allowed at the child care facility are those that are in good health, show no evidence of being a disease carrier, and a friendly companion of the children. Cats and dogs should be immunized for any disease that can be transmitted to humans, and shall be free from flea, tick and worm. A caregiver should be present when children are playing with animals (including cats and dogs). Children should be instructed on safe procedures to follow when in close contact with animals. Potentially aggressive animals like pit bulls , boxers, etc. should not be allowed in the premises of the center. Each child’s hands should be washed after playing with animals.
FIND A DAYCARE OR CHILD CARE IN MISSISSIPPI
- Horn Lake
- Long Beach
- Moss Point
- Ocean Springs
- Olive Branch
- West Point
Child Care Licensing Agency
Mississippi State Department of Health
570 East Woodrow Wilson Drive
P.O. Box 1700
Jackson, MS 39215-1700
Phone: (601) 576-7613
Toll Free: (800) 227-7308
Fax: (601) 576-7813