A child care consultant will work with you when you apply to become a licensed child care provider in North Carolina. He will assist you with the application process. Charlotte has many resources available to help you start your child care business. The Chamber of Commerce and the city's Economic Development department are two good places to look for extra assistance in planning your new business. As a child care provider, you will provide a vital service to working parents in Charlotte.
Decide what kind of child care business you want to open so that you can file the correct application and forms. Follow the Family Child Care Home application process if you want to provide care for no more than five preschool-aged children, or a maximum of eight if three are school-aged children. Follow the Child Care Centers application process to provide care for more than five preschool children.
Request the "Basic Information for Potential Providers" document from the Division of Child Development by calling 800-859-0829 inside North Carolina or 919-662-4499 outside the state. This document is free and it describes the state requirements for opening a child care center in North Carolina. Be sure to check with your local governments to learn about any local requirements.
Attend a Pre-licensing Workshop. The registration form to attend is included in the Basic Information for Potential Providers booklet available on the Division of Child Development's website. You will learn about choosing a site and building your child care center, requirements for child care and the role of health, safety, and building inspections. The two-day workshop costs $100 for one person and it includes the Child Care handbook, which details child care licensing requirements in North Carolina and provides resources. If the handbook is shared, a second person may attend for an additional $75.
Licensing fees range from $52 to $600, depending on the size of your child care center. See the Basic Information for Providers document for information on licensing fees.
Evaluate your center's building. Contact the local health authorities in Charlotte to obtain a sanitation inspection. Also obtain fire and building safety reports from local authorities. You will also need to submit a floor plan to your child care consultant. Check with local zoning authorities to make sure that your building and its lot meet local zoning regulations for a child care business. Make sure the building has enough room for the number of children you want to care for by consulting licensing regulations. Contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 441 Beaumont Avenue in Charlotte, or call them at 704-336-2101, for fire safety information for your center. For zoning information contact the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department at 704-336-2205. Visit the Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement Department for building inspections and the fire marshall at 311.
Obtain negative active TB tests, medical exams, emergency medical information, annual health questionnaires or medical statements for yourself and all staff members. See the Basic Information for Providers document from the Division of Child Development for information on education and experience requirements for personnel. Prepare a program plan, including information about how you will run your center, your staff organization, file organization for staff and children, policies and budget information.=
Contact your area's licensing supervisor, whose phone number will be given at the Prelicensing Workshop. A child care consultant will then be assigned to you to help you complete your application forms and discuss licensing requirements for your center.
Request a Family Child Care Home Application Packet from the Division of Child Development if you want to start a day care in your home in North Carolina. Pay the $3 fee for the packet, which includes education and age requirements, application forms, an operator checklist and an order form for materials. Purchase the child care law and rules for homes or the Family Child Care Home Handbook, which includes rules and laws and extra resources by sending in the order form included with the packet. Contact the child care contact consulted on the front of your application packet if you have questions. Complete and mail the application form to you consultant. The consultant will then contact you so that you can meet and finish the application process. Complete the mandatory Criminal Records Background Check for you, any employees you may hire and anyone in your household older than 15 who is in the house while children are in your or your employees' care, instructions for which are included in the application packet. Contact your local resource and referral organization to find out when their next prelicensing orientation for family child care homes will be. This is not a required step, but it is helpful.