Start a Daycare in Wyoming – Licensing – Regulations – Laws
Wyoming is a state of United States located in northwestern region. It is the 10th largest state with regards to size but the least in population. The capital of this state is the city of Cheyenne. The estimated population of the state in 2006 is 515,004 and the number of children per age bracket are presented below:
|Age Bracket||Total Population|
|0-4 years old||34,128|
|5-9 years old||31,557|
|10-14 years old||32,883|
|under 18 years old||120,930|
|% of children under 5yrs old||6.63%|
|% of children under 18yrs old||23.48%|
Many experts foresee the increase in demand on day care because of the change in demography of population in Wyoming. It can be seen on the trends in social and economic aspects that there is increasing number of women in the workforce in the last 20 years. Because of this, more children have to spend time in day care while their mothers are working.
|% of children under 6yrs old who are living with working parents||66.65%|
|% of children 6-17yrs old who are living with working parents||77.48%|
There is an increasing need for day care centers nowadays because of the economic situation and the high incidence of divorce which force mothers to find jobs away from home to meet their financial needs.
Wyoming Department of Family Services
Because of the increasing trend of day care in Wyoming, it organized a department who are in-charge in licensing all child care facilities in the state and it is called as “Wyoming Department in Family Services”. This is the lead agency in federal Child Care and Development Block Grant. It reorganized all child care programs in 2001 and it created the Division of Early Childhood. This division is the outcome of commitment of the department to serve and protect the young children in Wyoming.
The Early Childhood Division focuses on their customers who are the child care providers, children, parents, and policy makers. The commitments of this division are:
- to ensure that children are in safe child care setting which is developmentally appropriate;
- to check whether families with low income receive assistance to enable them to pay the cost of child care while working;
- to see if the child care providers are equipped with training which are necessary to their education programs; and
- to provide policy makers with important information for as their basis in making decisions.
The following are their programs:
- Child Care Licensing
- Child Care Quality Initiatives
- Child Care Subsidy
It provides administrative support to these councils and boards:
- Early Childhood Development Council
- Child Care Certification Board
This department monitors the Child Care Facilities. Every year, it conducts two ocular visitations of the facilities (1 announced and 1 unannounced). It would also visit because of technical assistance, complaint investigation, pre-licensing visitation (for new programs), and follow up visitation (if needed).
This department can be contacted to this address and phone number:
Wyoming Department of Family Services
Division of Early Childhood
2300 Capitol Ave.
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Starting a Day Care in Wyoming
Before deciding to put up a day care, it is important that you now the potential profits earned in this business.
Some day care centers are nearly breakeven even if they maintain 35 – 65 children. This is because of the regulations that are imposed in every state which causes excessive overhead costs in the operation. You will be needing facilities if you handle 150 – 200 children gross income of $100,000.
Every state requires a minimum area per child whether indoor or outdoor. There must be a licensed nurse in the area. For every 15 -20 children, there must be a licensed teacher. The following is the required ratio between the number of staff and the number of children:
Required Ratio between Number of Staffs and Number of Children
|Age of Children||Child: Staff Ratio/Maximum Group Size|
|10 years and older||18:1|
You can start first with baby-sitting service while learning and expand later. After baby sitting, you can do it outside your home using the real facilities of day care where it could be church-based or organization-based. You can also rent or buy a house for your venue. But be sure that you consider the zoning laws.
As beginner, you can ask for sponsors in your business. This would save you with finding an area for your venue and help you in the start up costs. They are also a great help in advertising your day care.
You have to locate you business in the right side of the street if you would set up in industrial area. In metropolitan areas, put it away from the heart of the city. While in small communities, you can set up anywhere.
If your area permits, you can duplicate the long entrance facility of a hospital or motel to avoid accidents of children in your premise. It is important to advertise your day care by putting signage with the information on your working hours and contact numbers on it. Be sure to include in your signage all the necessary information that your potential customers must have to know and convince them at the same time.
Day Care Licensing in Wyoming
A license is required by Wyoming government to business owners before they operate a day care. This is to make sure that the safety and development of children in day care are well taken care of.
The Wyoming Department of Family Services is incharge of licensing regulations of day care in the state. You can visit their site in http://dfsweb.state.wy.us/.
The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care also have documents and information regarding child care licensing in Wyoming where you can browse in this address http://nrc.uchsc.edu/.
The following are the benefits you can gain in securing a day care license:
State accreditation – All states require a license and each have different requirements and criteria depending on the age of children catered. A day care license would make the parents at ease when they leave their children because a license is only released after passing the standards of health and safety issues of day care facilities. Having a license will imply to the parents that the providers are serious in providing care for children.
Parental requirements – The parents will have a peace of mind upon knowing that the child care they would entrust their children is licensed. This would make them feel that their children are in good hands while they are away working.
Rule observation – With the license, a day care is obliged to follow the existing rules and regulation of the local and federal government. This is because anytime the day care violates the law, it will be sanctioned up to the point of cancellation of its license and shutting down the operation of the business. The license is also a protection of the day care from liabilities which may happen because the business already has its identity to file in the court. The business will also enjoy the privilege of operating and identifying the persons to operate the service.
Tax coverage – A licensed day care enjoys the different tax exemptions provided by the government.
The other advantages of having a license are:
- You can take care of more children therefore you will enjoy higher income
- You will receive higher payments coming from DFS if the children under your care have child care assistance
- You can avail scholarship funds from STARS program for your training and education needs
- Parents will refer your program to child care finder
- You will receive support and technical assistance for your success
- You will receive free newsletter of TLC which is filled with useful ideas to properly care the children under you
- You will be recognized as professional child care provider
Application for Day care License
If you are in-charge to take care of at least two children which you are not related to you, you are required to secure a license. The following are exempted to apply a license:
- Legal parent or relative caring for a child.
- Grandparent caring for a maximum of 4, if grandchildren and 2 if not related.
- Caring occasionally of neighbor’s/friend’s child.
- Parents who are exchanging care in cooperative manner.
- If the child care provider goes to the child’s house.
- A person with child care facilities but providing care for at most two children not related to him.
- Child care facilities which are supervised by the local government and state, agency, school district, or political subdivision.
Classifications of License
You may ask from Child Care Licenser available in your county or you can download the Application for Child Care Certification.
The following are classifications of licenses that can be given to child care provider:
- Family Child Care Home – license given to provider who will take care of three to ten children in his home with no marginal staff;
- Family Child Care Center – if the provider will take care of ten to fifteen children in his home or in other building which he does not reside. He has one staff;
- Child Care Center – this license if for those who will take care of at least sixteen children with enough staff to conform with the required ratio between the staff and child.
The following are additional documents needed aside from the application form:
- A request for child / abuse neglect, Central Registry check, and criminal background check *
- Proof of clearance from tuberculosis disease *
- Approval of local zoning (if required)
- Proof from a physician, assistant physician, or nurse practitioner that you have no medical and emotional disorder which will affect your service *
- Three references of unrelated individuals who can testify that you can handle caring for children
- Proof that you are equipped with the required education / training / experience
- Application fee of $50 which is non-refundable
* You can download these forms
A Pre-licensing Orientation is required after completing the application. Then there will be inspection on the facilities. These are the a) Fire Inspection, b) Health and Sanitation Inspection, and c) Child Care Licensing Inspection.
Licensing Regulations and Rules
There are licensing regulations in Wyoming. The Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care Facilities are found in http://nrckids.org/STATES/WY/wy_all.pdf with effective date of December 1, 2005.
The Wyoming’s regulations cover the day care homes and day care centers. There are also rules on space size of outdoor playground, supervision, appropriate equipment, the use of zone, and surfacing. The state has its standards on play areas considering the natural environment and weather conditions. All of these are available in the website of Wyoming Department of Family Services in www.dfsweb.state.wy.us/.
The following are licensing rules to be followed in Wyoming effective September 1, 2008. The details are found in http://dfswapps.state.wy.us/DFSDivEC/General/LicensingRules.asp
|Chapter 1||Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care facilities|
|Chapter 2||Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care facilities|
|Chapter 3||Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care facilities|
|Certification of Child Caring facilities|
|Chapter 4||Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care facilities|
|Denial, Non-Renewal, revocation or suspension of license|
|Chapter 5||Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care facilities|
|Contested case hearing|
|Chapter 6||Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care facilities|
|Rules relating specifically to Family Child Care Homes|
|Chapter 7||Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care facilities|
|Rules relating specifically to Family Child Care Centers|
|Chapter 8||Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care facilities|
|Rules relating specifically to Child Care Centers|
|Chapter 9||Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care facilities|
|Health and Sanitation|
|Chapter 10||Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care facilities|
|Fire standards for family Child Care Home|
|Chapter 11||Administrative Rules for Certification of Child Care facilities|
All of these licensing rules are required for all licensed child care programs because these will assure the safety of children.
Day Care State Requirements
Day care teacher must have high school diploma or certificate in GED. He must be 19 years old and have 6-month work experience in day care. If he has no work experience yet, he must have at least 5-hour day care training or he must have a professional credential from any nationally-recognized organization. The ratio of provider and child are given below:
|Age Range (years)||Ratio for Center-based Care|
|0 – 2||(1:5)|
|2 – 3||(1:8)|
|3 – 4||(1:10)|
|4 – 5||(1:15)|
|5 – 6||(1:20)|
|6 and above||(1:25)|
|Mixed age group||(ratio for youngest child in group|
|Age Range||Ratio For Family Child Care|
|[this includes the provider's own preschool-aged children; the infant care is limited to 2, but with the presence of another adult the infant capacity will increase to 5]|
There is a required physical premise which must be met to ensure health and safety environment in day care. The provider, together with his staffs, is also required to have continuing education.
Making a Business Plan for Your Day Care
Before you indulge yourself in advertising your day care business, you have to think first the details of all the things you have to know and need in putting up the business. This is not as simple as converting your house into playpen. It is a business and there are so many things to prepare and consider especially the requirement and laws in your area. Before you start the business, you have to be 100 percent sure to avoid backing out at the middle and wasting your resources.
After assessing your willingness to put up the business, you have to prepare a business plan and this will be your blueprint and framework in running your business. You have to think of your mission and vision, analyze the costs you will incur as start up cost including the overheads.
Jot down everything that comes in your mind because it’s hard to recall later when you are finally writing your business plan. Conduct a market research on the existing demand and supply of the child care business in your planned location. Check if it is feasible to have a day care facility in that area. Make a rough estimate on the expected costs you will incur such as license fee, insurances, playpens, furniture, toys, and all necessary expenses to start the business.
Marketing Your Day Care Business
Most of the day cares start to operate even with no advertisement or fanfare. With this, they could still attain 90 percent of their capacity within their first six months of operation. But with the use of extensive advertising and grand opening fanfare, you will attain the 90 percent capacity only for your first six weeks.
The first thing to do is to distribute your brochure by using a door to door advertisement. You can hire for the assistance of college students near your area who are taking advertising related courses or an advertising copywriter for the design of your brochure. Be sure to print it with quality paper. Make your brochure impressive as possible because you are aiming to convince parents to entrust their children to you.
If you have the resources, put an ad of your day care to your local newspapers, local magazines, and other related publications where the working mothers have access. The ad could be two columns by four inches. You can include in your ad the group picture with your staff and the array of services you will offer. You can invite to your opening the editors of local newspaper, TV and radio stations, and other individuals who could possibly help you in promoting your daycare. You can also put an ad in yellow pages of the telephone directory. This is one of the cheapest but one of the most effective strategies because your potential customers will see your contact number when they are in the process of contemplating on the right day care for their child. Do not forget to serve free refreshments during your grand opening and make all your staffs roam around and be ready to answer the queries of the parents and those who are present.
After having your grand opening and while your day care facilities are not yet fully utilized, you continue advertising your service by distributing your brochure to the areas where there are working mothers and by putting ads in local newspapers and other publications. You can also post on bulletin boards or you may have banners in strategic areas.
The income you will realize from your day care depends on the overhead costs you will incur. Therefore make that cost lower to have higher profit without sacrificing the quality of your service.
Operating a Day Care Center in Wyoming
You will need to determine the regular hour that your day care will operate. Most of the day cares operate from 6am until 6pm. Aside from serving lunch, you decide if you will also include breakfast. Some states require morning and afternoon snacks and the usual food served by day cares are cookies, juice, and fresh fruits.
By serving meals, you will need a cook, planned menus, dishes, food supplies, kitchen and eating utensils, kitchen supplies, chairs and tables, and washing facilities. These are part of your overhead costs so you have to really plan for it to minimize the expenses.
A day care center follows a planned routine everyday. The schedule is in per hour segment, using pre-planned curriculum, just like in public schools.
Start the day with play period until 9 o’clock. This would also allow you to wait for the arriving children. You need toys, indoor sand boxes, or a television set to keep the children busy. From 9am – 10am, you can group the children according to their age and have separate story telling session. Then serve your morning snack between 10am – 11am. Some children, especially the younger ones, can have their morning nap. After that, the activity is resumed and it is usually a learning session. Some day care would invite their guests for this session. The guest would usually entertain or deliver a talk to the children. You can coordinate with some civic clubs, city of administration, or Chamber of Commerce for the potential guests. The children will surely enjoy mingling to firemen, policemen, and other significant community helpers to teach them their important roles in the community. Try also inviting college students near your area to demonstrate their skills such as painting, drawing, sculpture making, working with clay, and other skills. The significance of this session is to expose the children to outside world. After this session is lunch break which is usually 12 noon to 1pm. Then there is another session for learning from 1pm – 2pm. You can schedule teaching writing, reading, and numerals to this session which can be handled by retired teachers, unemployed persons (with certificate of teaching), or college students taking up education courses. This session does not have to be rigid because you just want to stimulate the children’s mind to have interest to formal education. The children must develop the love for learning and education.
You can also take the children for trips during the afternoon session once every week. Go to interesting places that would excite them such as the zoo, radio station, television station, factories, police department, and fire department. This would instill to them that learning is fun and enjoyable.
If you have no scheduled trips, you may have film showing or you extend nap time for the young ones while reading books or quiet games for the older ones. Then after that, it’s play time again until the arrival of parents.
As mush as possible encourage children to play outside but be sure you have playground supervisor to monitor the children and assure that no one will get hurt while playing. You can hire a part time staff for this chore. Always consider also to the climate before allowing the children to play outdoor.
Managing Your Day Care Business
To make your day care profitable, there must be a skilled manager where it could be you or by hiring someone. It does not matter whether the manager is the owner himself of a hired employee as long as he is passionate with what he is doing and compassionate with children. A manager should show empathy to people, a good sales person, and have charismatic personality. He must know how to listen with the needs of its customers even with their complaints. He must always decide based on facts not by the influence of biased opinions. He will take charge of the supervision and hiring of employees including the scheduling, budgeting, and the daily operation of the business.
If a potential client calls, make sure that you explain well your operation and be sure you invite him/her with his/her child to visit your day care for a facility tour. During the visitation, take the opportunity to discuss the benefits of structured learning and play program rather than availing a baby sitting service. Every time you have a facility tour, let the children explore and play with your facilities to encourage parents to consider your day care in their choices.
After the facility tour and returning back to the office, give the enrollment details. Ask also the location of office of the parent and the frequency of his overtime in work so that you can set a convenient schedule for dropping and picking his child.
Tell straightly to all parents that you follow strictly the pick up time not to frighten them but to assure them that it is for their child’s safety to avoid incidence of kidnapping by non-custodial parent. You have to get their authorized signature for security purposes in case they would let guardians to pick up their children.
You have to provide a very impressive brochure with all the necessary information a parent should have to know such as your rates, curriculum, services, and goals.
Ask advice from legal person if you need to make a contract because the parent will just fill up the file card. The common information are their home address, contact number, medical information of the child, address of the parent’s office, and the parent’s location where he/she can be reached in case there is emergency.
Most of the day care centers are accepting children between the age two to six. Some also include in their services the care for infants starting from six weeks old. But, the provider must be well versed with infant care to make sure that the babies are in good hands. Or else you will be putting to risk these infants under your care.
If possible do not allow the children to bring their personal toys in daycare to avoid problems on sharing toys between the kids and misplacing the toys. But, you can allow blanket to be used during nap time. Therefore, you have to add in your day care facilities a lot of appropriate toys and other play items for your playground.
In case you include baby sitting in your services, you have to incorporate in your facilities a bedroom for a live-in couple. The best people for the chores are a retired couple where the wife will baby sit while the husband will do the maintenance and other handy-man services.
Required Facilities of Day Care in Wyoming
The inspectors of CHS or Consumer Health Services work with the team of Department of Family Services, State Fire Marshall’s office, and State Health Department in inspecting all the day care facilities in different states. CHS reviews the facilities for possible discrepancies in health and sanitation standards. It inspects approximately 400 facilities of child care once a year. The CHS inspectors evaluate the child care facilities for food safety, disease prevention, and environmental hazards.
Every day care centers must meet the required rules on food safety set by the state of Wyoming.
- There must be a 3-compartment sink set-up where the 2 compartments are sinks and the third one is for wash tub purposes.
- Home-style dishwashers are prohibited in day care centers unless the dishes are soaked with sanitizing solution after cleaning in dishwasher.
- The solution of sanitizers must be as follows:
Toys and kitchen utensil
Chlorine* – 50 to 100 ppm
Iodine – 12.5 to 25 ppm
Quaternary Ammonia – follow instructions in labels
Changing areas, tables and counters
Chlorine* – 100 to 200 ppm
Iodine – 25 to 50 ppm
Quaternary Ammonia – follow instructions in labels
*Artificially scented chlorine, such as lemon scent, is not approved.
- The toys must be regularly sanitized as often as needed or at least once every week.
- There must be a proper area for diaper changing and it must be within 12 feet from the hand wash sink. This area must be easy to clean, non-absorbent, and always be sanitized with solution every after use. The solution must be within the area but far from reach of children.
- Always make available the test strips to monitor the concentration of sanitizer used.
- There must be an efficient thermometer in the refrigerator to ensure that the food stored there will not spoil.
- There should be a metal-stem thermometer to check the temperatures of foods and water. This thermometer can display 01-2201 0F.
- The temperature of hot water available for hand washing of children must not be more than 2201 0F.
- The emergency telephone numbers must be strategically posted in every telephone available in the daycare. Included in the list are telephone numbers of Ambulance, Hospital, Poison Control, Police Office, Fire Department Office, and the Local DFS Office.
- Keep your hand washing sink low as possible to be reached easily by small children. If not, there must be a step stool below the sink.
- The cots, mats, and blankets must be well sanitized once every week.
- For children who are for toilet training must be provided with one potty chair for every four children.
- All the staff employed in the daycare must undergo a semi annual TB test.
- All the food that will be served in the day care must be from approved sources. Home canned goods are prohibited.
- All the foods which are potentially hazardous must be properly heated with the right temperature. All the leftovers must be cooled down.
Child Care Nutrition Program
It is crucial to consider the mealtime environment, nutrition program, nutrition education program in your day care because there are one of the main considerations of parents in looking for a good child care facility.
According to the CEO and founder of “Little Sprouts”, Susan Leger-Ferraro, the mealtime environments and nutrition programs are crucial aspects in considering a good day care for the children. This is because the children’s moods are influenced by the balanced nutrition they have eaten. Children are also easy to focus to the lessons and they participate well in activities.
Be sure to consider the following in designing your nutrition program:
Nutrition education programs – The Director of Nutrition Services in Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders and a registered dietician, Juliet Zuercher, said that day care providers must have a neutral and relaxed approach towards food. There must be a wide variety of food available for children in relaxed manner so it will not create shame and anxiety to the children. You have to diversify in styles of eating including the amount and frequency.
Mealtime environment – This is as important as the condition of the food you are serving. Zeurcher said that a good environment during meal time is to offer nutritious and tasty food to the children. Let the children discover and experience the food without any pressure and also let you staff to sit beside the children while having their lunch and snacks. Leger-Ferraro further says that a meal time is an opportunity to develop oral language because it is encouraged that the teachers share dialogue with the children. You may focus on recalling the work the children had done and their experiences that day or even their past experiences. Teachers must also be eating while doing this to become a role model.
Meal plans – The Director of Nutrition Services for Berkeley Unified School District in California and the author of Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children, Ann Cooper, said that the food served to children must be appropriate with their age. Zuercher therefore suggests that the meal must be colorful but simple. This is because in able for children to accept a new food, it must be introduced 10-15 times. Therefore, the food must be offered in repetition so the children will be accustomed to the taste and it would give them a sense of predictability on familiar food. Serving a variety of food is still important to achieve the right nutritional needs of the children.
You customers will be eager to know the ingredients you are using with your meals. Therefore follow the suggestion of Ann Cooper that food must be with no trans-fat and no high fructose corn sugar. Avoid also refined sugar and flours if you can. Instead, you offer whole foods like the vegetables and fresh fruits. Leger-Ferraro further suggests every meal planning and scheduling in day care must be in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of Education. Give the copy of meal plans to the parents and be sure that food is served every three hours.
As a conclusion, having a good nutrition in day care is providing a balanced food, with wide variety, and given in a relaxed environment to get the optimum results.