Do I need to have a license to care for children?
Whether you need a license or not depends on the type of service you are willing to provide at your childcare location. Your decision regarding the type of service you want to offer depends on several things but especially your budget as well as your goals. Family home daycares and child care centers are the preferred amongst the different types child cares such as nanny, babysitter, au pairs.
Family home daycare facility; If you are thinking to starting a home daycare business here is what you need to know about operating a child care business. In order to run a child care home you are not required to have a license. However, if you are caring for more than one family not related to you and caring for more than a certain period of time (as set by your state) then you are most probably going to be required to have a license, check with your state. Although caring for children at your own home doesn’t necessarily require you to have a license there still are state and local zoning regulations you will need to comply with. Whether licensed or unlicensed a home-based daycare no matter what should follow the laws.
Child care center; If you are looking to starting a child care center business you are going to need to apply for a license because this is a MUST in almost every states.
What are the licensing requirements?
As a candidate for a family home child care or child care center, you should first read and understand the requirements set by your state before applying for a license and should also make sure to take into consideration the pros and cons of operating a child care center and whether you are really ready for a daycare business or not. Starting a child care business at your home or operating in a commercial building sounds amazing but you should make sure to first do a good research and should evaluate whether your condition and abilities fulfill the requirements of opening a daycare.
After carefully evaluating your situation and you finally decide to start your dream business here are the main steps that you will be taking towards your goal for starting your new daycare;
- You will need to attend orientation
- You will be required to have criminal background checks
- You will be required to know CPR and first aid.
- You will need to have medical tests (for yourself as well as people living or working at your home)
- You will need to have home inspection.
- You will need to file an application
- You will be required to pay for a licensing fee
What is covered in the license?
- Authorized number of children that a child care can have
- Health, safety and fire instructions
- Student-teacher ratio information
- Background checks
- Staff training information
- Building and equipment information
What you need to know about operating a home daycare
Difference between a licensed and unlicensed family daycare, can be distinguished by the minimum number of kids a caregiver can look after. For example usually many states have adopted regulations in which they allow a caregiver to look after no more than one family at the same time (numbers vary by state regulations.) Nonetheless, for more accurate numbers check with your state.
There are many benefits to being a licensed daycare facility when compared to caring for children without having a state license. However, being unlicensed doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t give as much care to children and that you are not qualified enough to look after kids it just means that you are more likely to look after children related to you or a single family. For example like your neighbors kids. It only means that your home is not equipped enough and that in case of emergencies or to welcome greater number of children your facility would not be able to respond as efficiently as a licensed home daycare in which health and safety standards are under the control of authorities.
Consequently, if you are willing to care for children at your home without a license, it doesn’t mean that you are not looking after children with the passion and skills of a true caregiver as long as you are legally operating your business.
What you need to know about operating a child care center
Caring for children requires a very tough task, you need to teach by understanding them, you need to listen to them and this cannot be achieved without putting love into your work. Besides all the emotional sides to caring for children there are some requirements you must fulfill due to carrying a license for your center. First of all, a staff member with CPR and first aid training must be present at the center as well as each child must be under the supervision of a teacher at all times.
Secondly, you are required to keep record of health immunization information of each child. Also should make sure that number of toilets and indoor- outdoor activity equipment must be sufficient for the number of children attending your child care. One important reminder is that make sure that you have everything registered and that your facility carries safe equipment, tested previously and maintained in good condition.
Thirdly, health is one of the most important things you need to watch for carefully but caring for little ones means that you should make sure to provide the minimum requirements set by laws regarding meals as well as naps because taking a nap is also another ultimate need young ones must have. You should also be very attentive when it comes to safety, it's a big of an issue as to the protection parents expect mostly from the child care center so make sure to not leave around anything dangerous where children can easily reach and don't forget that there is a thin line between parents and the center when it comes to safety of their children.
What do parents look for in a child care home or center?
It’s hard to say because what some prefer others don’t but most likely families do prefer licensed child cares rather than a home daycare for their children. Whether they chose to enroll in a home child care or a child care center is a matter of preference. A home daycare and a child care center, both can have their good sides and bad sides.
Here’s a little comparison regarding how parents think about child care home vs. child care center. They will feel much more comfortable to know that their child is being cared for under the state health and safety standards however they might from time to time chose an unlicensed daycare too because child care center's might be packed with alot of kids and they might be expensive. On the other hand, licensed family daycare homes are actually very likely to be preferred by families since parents are looking for a home like environment for their children and also some prefer the advantages of mix age groups.
Although the question regarding "what do parents look for in a child care home or center?" sounds quite important, you should keep in mind that actually their ideas are going to be shaped by the opportunities they come across, which means that they are going to take into consideration what is being offered to them instead of what they want in their minds. So now you are asking what opportunities are being offered to families who are looking for a daycare for their children? Well in order to become an option for parents/guardians you have to be heard whether as a child care center or home daycare provider. It looks like they must be aware of you and your facility and how are you going to do that? Of course by effective marketing, by knowing your strategies and then you can stop worrying about they want and start offering what you can do for them by your marketing tools.