Child care centers receive a license if they comply with Minimum Standards for Day Care Centers and Nighttime Centers. Compliance is based on documentation submitted to DHR or shown during an annual inspection. Below is a summary of the Minimum Standards for licensing.
- Prior to receiving a license, the child care facility must submit a written fire and health department inspection report with no violations cited.
- All staff members working in a licensed child care facility are required to have criminal background checks and clearances from the State Central Registry on Child Abuse/Neglect.
- Written documentation of a current infant-child First Aid and CPR certificate should be on file for at least one staff present at the center during hours of operation.
- A plan for the evacuation and care of the children in case of a fire, tornado, serious accident or injury, or power failure should be established and posted in a conspicuous place in the center.
- Child care programs cannot exceed the following staff-to-child ratios:
- 0 – 18 months = 1 to 5
- 18 months – 2 ½ years = 1 to 7
- 24 months – 36 months = 1 to 8
- 2 ½ years – 4 years = 1 to 11
- 4 years – school age = 1 to 18
- Teachers must have a high school diploma or GED and at least 12 clock hours of training in child care and development each year.
- The director has to meet at least one of the following education requirements:
- A high school diploma or GED, 120 clock hours of training in child care, and at least 12 months of work experience in a child care program.
- A child development associate credential (CDA) or a certified child care professional certificate (CCP) from the National Child Care Association Inc. (NCCA), a high school diploma or GED, and at least 12 months of work experience in a child care program.
- An associate degree in child development or early childhood education from a post-secondary school, and at least nine months of working experience in a child care program.
- A bachelor’s degree in child development or early childhood education and at least six months of work experience in a child care program.
- The director must obtain at least 20 clock hours of training in administration and management and at least four hours of training in quality child care each year.