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How to Open a Daycare Center in Alabama

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Daycare centers in Alabama must be licensed prior to providing child care services. Exceptions are church-affiliated daycares that opt for license exemption. You can request a daycare center application packet from the Child Care Services Division of the Alabama Department of Human Resources by calling 866-528-1694. The packet includes a copy of the "Minimum Standards for Day Care Centers and Nighttime Centers," as well as application forms and a list of required attachments.

Schedule and attend required training for center directors. To qualify as a director for a child care center in Alabama, an individual must receive at least 120 hours of child care training, hold a high school diploma or general education diploma and have at least one year of experience in an approved child care setting, according to the "Minimum Standards for Day Care Centers and Nighttime Centers." Alternative training options include a bachelor's degree in child development or early childhood education along with at least six months in child care experience or an associate's degree in one of these fields with nine months of relevant experience.

Request a fire inspection of the proposed child care facility. Contact the fire marshal's office at 334-241-4166 to schedule an inspection. Any deficiencies will be noted in a formal report and can be corrected prior to the final inspection.

Contact your local health department to request a health inspection for your facility. The purpose of the inspection is to obtain a permit to provide daycare food service.

Forward your completed application along with required attachments to your licensing agency. Besides the fire and health inspection reports, attachments are to include a copy of your daycare center's policies and procedures, your fee schedule, your food permit, a statement of compliance with zoning laws and a floor plan of the proposed child care facility, according to the Alabama Department of Human Resources. If an executive board will oversee the daycare center, forward the names and addresses of board members when you submit your application, as well as a certified copy of incorporation papers and a copy of the board's bylaws and constitution.

Complete a background check for the applicant, as well as the center director and owner, if different from the applicant. A background check is also required for board members if the center will have an executive board. The Child Services Division will provide fingerprint cards and required forms as part of the application packet.

Submit a "Request for Clearance of State Central Registry on Child Abuse/Neglect" form for the applicant, and if applicable, the owner, center director and board members. This form is provided in the application packet.

Schedule a medical examination and tuberculosis test for the center director. Using the form provided in the application packet, the director must submit a medical report that includes the results of a TB skin test as well as a satisfactory statement of health.

Purchase required equipment such as cots, cribs, high chairs, toys, art supplies, safety equipment and furniture. The "Minimum Standards" includes age-based equipment lists that identify specific toy and activity requirements. You need a crib or playpen for each child 18 months and younger and cots for older children.

Advertise to fill staff positions. Prior to the issuance of your license, advertisements for staff must clarify that the license application is pending. You're not allowed to place children under the care of a child care worker who hasn't satisfactorily passed a background check and medical screening. Child care workers must complete at least 12 hours of child care and development training within 30 days of being hired, according to the "Minimum Standards for Day Care Centers and Nighttime Centers."


Pam Murphy is a writer specializing in fitness, childcare and business-related topics. She is a member of the National Association for Family Child Care and contributes to various websites. Murphy is a licensed childcare professional and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Georgia.

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