Day care exists specifically for parents who need a place for their children to be while they (the parents) are at work. Day care takes various forms, from nonresidential to a home-based day care. Becoming a home day care provider has become an increasingly popular work-from-home option. However, there are certain steps to take to be eligible for this. This article outlines how to become a licensed home day care provider.
Contact your state daycare licensing agency to get the rules for your particular state. In some states, licensure is not required and filling out a self-certification form may be all that is required, depending on how many children you plan to have in your daycare. But if you live in a state requiring licensure, fill out the application and go through the steps that are listed on the application form as being required.
Go through a background and medical check, as required by the particular state that you seek licensure in. The background check may include your education history, your criminal record, your employment history and possibly your finances and credit history. For example, the medical check may require that you get checked for tuberculosis and will require you to get a tuberculosis clearance. Also, some states require that you get training in pediatric CPR and first aid through your local Red Cross or other local organization.
Inform your landlord that you plan to operate a daycare service out of your residence. If you own your own home, this step will not be necessary. However, if you are renting your home or apartment or living in a condominium, you need to inform the landlord or the condominium association that you plan to start a day care. Note that some rental home landlords, some apartments and some condominium associations may not even allow you to start a business such as a home day care on the premises. However, even if there is no specific clause prohibiting a home day care in your lease or condominium agreement, it is still a good idea to let your landlord or condominium association know about your plan so that you can protect yourself from legal action in the event of any kind of problem pertaining to your daycare.
Get specific training for providing day care services. Sometimes training is offered through the state department of child and family services, or the state day care licensing agency may provide suggestions for classes. Also, there are online courses available for day care providers, which will provide basic information on how to run the day care, basic behavioral management, and how to make sure that the children have the most positive experience possible. Some of these courses will provide information on how to spot child abuse, and you will learn about the state-mandated requirements in your state for reporting child abuse if any child brought to your day care exhibits signs or symptoms of child abuse.
Meet state licensing requirements for health and safety, because there will be health and safety inspections for your day care from time to time. Your home day care must be a clean space and free from items that could injure the children. Smoke detectors should be there, and there cannot be open alcohol containers or other materials inappropriate for children around the house in such a way that children can gain access to them (poisonous plants or hazardous chemicals or asbestos). You should read very carefully the materials that describe the state licensing regulations for health and safety of day care, and if you have questions, write to the state day care licensing agency.
Get daycare insurance to protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit. The moment the parents bring their children to stay at your day care, you will be responsible for keeping them safe. However, sometimes accidents do happen, and that can mean that you are liable. If you are found to be liable and if you have no daycare insurance, then you have to pay the child's family out of your own pocket. Another reason to get day care insurance is that the insurance company has knowledge of child care claims and can give you loss control advice.
Get accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care. This accreditation is optional, but having this accreditation is a sign that your day care is of good quality. You can also use this accreditation to better market your day care.