You invested a lot of time and effort to obtain your daycare business license. Don’t let that go to waste by not maintaining compliance. Follow the guidelines below to help you stay compliant with regulations and keep your child care license valid.
Note: The information below is specific to Washington State, where the Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) oversees early learning programs and daycare regulations. However, the general requirements tend to be common across the country. To find your state’s laws related to child care licensing, visit the National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations.
Submit Annual Renewal Forms and Fees
Every year 30 days before your license’s anniversary date, you must submit the following:
- Child Care Licensing Fee to the DSHS Financial Services Administration in the amount of $125 for the first 12 children in your child care center or school-age center program, with another $12 per child up to the licensed capacity
- Declaration of Compliance
- All background check applications every three years and when a new person is hired.
Maintain Required Documentation
To remain compliant with your daycare license, you must keep the following required documentation:
- Personnel files for all staff that includes background checks, employment records, and records of training
- Daily child attendance records
- Fire safety emergency drills records
- Annual fire safety inspection from local agency or State Fire Marshall
- Individual records for every child that includes information about the child, contact information, signed parent permission slips, and health records, including immunizations.
- Written policies for staff, emergency preparedness, and health; any changes you make to these policies require notification to the DCYF.
Be sure to post the required information, which include your license, a floor plan with emergency routes, emergency contact information, hand washing procedures, insurance coverage, and more.
Participate in Mandated Training
You, the licensee, plus your designated primary staff person must complete 10 hours of department-approved ongoing training each year. The hours are calculated annually according to the DCYF fiscal year. A minimum of one hour each year must be in health and safety topics to meet federal requirements. These in-service hours can be fulfilled by classes from a state-approved trainer. Alternative training must be approved by the DCYF.
Staff must keep current CPR and first aid certifications, as well as a food handler’s permit.
Keep Staff to Child Ratios Within Limits
Regulations limit the number of children who can be supervised by an adult at one time. The allowable ratios for child care centers are:
- For infants up to 11 months, one staff is required for every four children
- For toddlers aged 12 to 29 months, one staff per seven children is the minimum
- For preschool children 30 months to five years of age, one staff is needed for every 10 children
- For school-age children five years and older, one staff per 15 children is required
Provide a Healthy, Safe Environment
Your child care center must provide children and staff with a safe environment that follows healthy practices. Your compliance with the many specific health and safety regulations will be reviewed at least annually. A best practice is to review the facility at least monthly, checking the condition and cleanliness of equipment and spaces, observing staff’s habits, and identifying any possible risk areas.
Be Inspection Ready at All Times
A licensor will do a monitoring visit to child care center providers at least once every 12 months. You will not know about this visit ahead of time. You also could be inspected in response to a complaint made about your daycare business. Because you could be inspected at any time, without notice, you should strive to be inspection ready at all times.
Running a child care center involves following all the administrative tasks required for maintaining your daycare business license. Your child care operation also requires proper accounting. Partner with experts at Honest Buck Accounting to help take your business to the next level.