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Daycare in the Bay State is regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), which has strict licensing requirements for opening a daycare center in your home. EEC license requirements focus on five key areas: curriculum, safe environment, professional qualifications, community engagement and expert administration. Daycare staff undergo a background check and must be trained in education, child development and safety measures. Home daycare operations must also maintain an appropriate ratio of staff for the number of children enrolled.
Types of Home Daycare
The EEC licenses three types of home daycare operations:
- Family Child Care, with a maximum of six children in the home.
- Family Child Care Plus, with a maximum of eight children, as long as at least two of the children are school-aged.
- Large Family Child Care, for up to 10 children, as long as the facility has an approved assistant on staff.
Children can range in age from infants to school-aged.
Understand the Requirements
Home daycare licensing requirements in Massachusetts insure high-quality education, care and safety in five key areas:
- Curriculum, Assessment and Diversity: Daycare staff are considered educators and should be trained in appropriate interactions between caretakers and children to promote growth, assess child development and respond to special needs.
- Safe and Healthy Environments: Home daycare should provide children with a safe and stimulating environment, both indoors and outside. This involves not only a diverse physical space, but attention to health-care policies, appropriate nutrition and facility safety.
- Workforce Qualifications and Professional Development: Massachusetts requires formal training for daycare providers. In addition to a high school diploma, daycare staff should have specific training, experience and credentials for the type of care offered.
- Family and Community Engagement: Home daycare operators should have active communications with the families of the children under their care and engagement with the local community, including familiarity with local resources like vision and dental screenings.
- Leadership, Management and Administration: Home daycare centers should have an active business plan that provides for contingencies such as replacing a sick caregiver, responding to emergencies and communicating with families.
Actual licensing requirements in Massachusetts vary according to the number of children under your care, the ages of the children and special needs they may have. A number of training courses are generally required, such as CPR for children, along with general first aid and record-keeping requirements.
You should attend an EEC Orientation class as your first step in obtaining the appropriate license for your home daycare facility. This will be followed by participation in a Potential Provider Meeting at the nearest EEC Regional Office. These two steps will identify the specific additional requirements for your home daycare operation.