Why Do I Need a Childcare License?
Do you think childcare providers should be licensed? Are you thinking of taking care of children and wondering if you should get a license first? Are you a parent looking for care and wondering if you need to find a licensed provider?
Think it through. A license doesn’t guarantee children will be safe. It doesn’t make you a good provider. It won’t make you get tons of calls and be full of kids all the time. But a license does offer protection.
You can be fined for not having a childcare license in Oklahoma.
Licensing is a big old pile of paperwork and lots of hoops to jump through. It’s the government for goodness sake. BUT! Licensing requirements are there for a reason, and they are meant for the good of the children. The state of Oklahoma has one of the most stringent set of licensing requirements in the country, but I think it’s good for the children, providers, and parents.
Our licensing requirements have a lot of unnecessary guidelines and ideas. You can definitely tell a person who does NOT provide childcare in the trenches wrote these rules and regulations, but that’s inherent in any government run situation. They pay the big bucks to the people with the degrees that have never actually TRIED to stay in a house for 10 hours with 7 children and NO help!
Yes, these rule makers may have done a practicum where they observed a classroom in a daycare center, but almost never is there a real family childcare provider making rules or governing them.
Childcare licensing can be a pain
The situation being as it is, the basic ideas the licensing requirements give us are good ones. These regulations make us think, they make us aware of dangers that could be present. They are not there to annoy us or put us out of business with expense, even though they do sometimes.
Childcare is not a lucrative job. Most of the money we bring in is spent on food, art supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, wipes, toys, puzzles, games, PAPER, printers, ink, water, electricity, and general business expenses that go on and on. I spend over $7,000 a year on food every year, just for my daycare kids? That does not include food for my family. And that’s just food, that’s one expense. We do this job because we LOVE it. We care about kids. We love sharing our home with them and caring for families.
Licenses cost money. In Oklahoma, there is not a fee to apply, but there is a mountain of paperwork, which requires a computer, printer, ink, paper, pens, postage, etc. There is also a fee we have to pay to CECPD to keep track of our training hours. (Extortion if you ask me). There is a fee we have to pay to get a back ground check, and now we are required to get FBI fingerprints as well for not just us, but our substitutes, and ANY family that lives in our homes. At $53 a pop plus all the paperwork involved, plus traveling at least an hour to a certified center and taking a day off to get them done, is one big expense.
Childcare license can cost money
We have to pay for trainings, our time to get to them, and of course wear and tear on our vehicles and gas which we don’t get reimbursed for. There are some free trainings available, but you will have to pay for some each year.
In addition to that, we have to pay for required equipment such as toys, art supplies, high chairs, bibs, cups, flatware (that gets thrown in the trash by accident weekly), mats, cots, beds, swings, playground equipment and on and on to meet licensing requirements. Then there is the safety equipment, plug covers, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, flash lights, thermometers for the refrigerator, smoke alarms and BATTERIES for all of this stuff.
The expenses go on and on. Having a license is expensive, but it’s also worth it.
Did you know that licensed providers are REQUIRED to be properly trained in CPR and First Aid? What if you chose an unlicensed provider and something happened to your child during the daycare day. Wouldn’t you want them to know what to do? What if you are providing care unlicensed and something happens? Will you know what to do to save a child?
Childcare license can offer protection for providers and children
Licensed providers aren’t allowed to let babies sleep on the couch, we have to buy approved baby furniture for them, but it’s a whole lot safer than a couch or the bed they could roll off of and get hurt. Licensed providers aren’t allowed to let kids under 3 play outside alone, but don’t you think that’s best? Personally, I don’t let kids go outside without me until they are 6. I think 3 is WAY too young.
Licensed providers aren’t allowed to leave their kids with anyone unless they have a back ground check, are trained in CPR and First Aid, and are on the list of subs the provider has filled out paperwork on. Don’t you think it’s good to know who will be with your child?
Did you know that licensed providers have unannounced visits for the safety of the kids quarterly? It’s good to have someone with the kid’s best interest at heart dropping by your child’s daycare. And if you are the provider, it’s good for you too. It’s good to be doing the right thing all the time because that’s what’s best for the kids! My licensing worker works hard to help me and provide me with all the information to be my best. She also wants the best for me and cares about the safety of my kids.
Rules can be good
Obviously, I am a rule girl, but I think it’s good to have rules for children’s safety. Some people just don’t think without them. For me, some of the rules are pointless, and some of the rules are not strict enough, but the basic idea behind the rules and the basic structure of the rules has a lot of value. I think we all need guidelines.
I know there are good providers who are not licensed and there are terrible providers who are. That’s just the reality in any job in the world. When my daughter was young, I used an unlicensed provider for her and she was absolutely WONDERFUL! I would NOT go back and change a thing. But I feel the license protects the provider, the kids and the families. I would recommend getting one if you don’t have one and are providing care for children.
In Oklahoma if you are caught providing care without a license for even one child over 15 hours per week there are large fines and even jail time. I have seen over and over again, people using unlicensed childcare homes and when they get turned in, their kids suddenly have nowhere to go. Mom and Dad still need to go to work, right?
I have also seen things happen in unlicensed care, such as a recent SIDS death of an infant and the provider did nothing wrong but was in deep hot water without the protection of the license. Obviously the police were involved in the death of a precious baby, but she didn’t have the licensing agency to back her up or provide guidelines for her AND she was in trouble with the law for providing unlicensed care. I hate to see this happen to another person who I know just loves kids and was trying to care for them.
Check out the regulations for your state online. Click here to see the requirements for Oklahoma.
Childcare license can get you more business
Another perk of having a license is getting business. Your name and contact information will be listed on the DHS website. Here in Oklahoma, the website for finding licensed providers is OKDHS.org. Then just click on the childcare locator and you can put in what you’re looking for. If you decide to do childcare illegally, you won’t be able to advertise anywhere because that will get you caught. It’s not any fun to live worrying about getting caught for doing something wrong.
Being a licensed provider will allow you to be contacted with opportunities for training. You will learn to provide better care through training whether you take it online, in a college classroom, or in two hours blocks where it’s offered around your area. Training helps you learn and grow as a parent and a provider.
Generally speaking, a license will help you attract a better quality of clients for your business. Most parents understand the importance of being regulated and how it can effect quality. In addition, parents will see you in a more professional light and treat you in a more professional way.
Childcare is not for everyone
Childcare is a super hard job. Not everyone can do it. You have to be a special person to deal with the spit up and personalities of other people’s kids. You have to love them as if they were your own, with your whole heart, but know the parents get to make choices about their own children. You also have to say goodbye to them when they leave you and grow up. It’s not for the weak.
Society sees the work, in general, with little importance, but it is the number one most important job in the entire world! We are shaping the future. We are supporting families. We are spreading love and teaching children to be quality people for the future of the world. Most people think we do it because we can’t do anything else, but providers know we do it because we are the only ones who can.
If you use childcare, make sure your provider knows how important she (or he) is to you. Make sure you treat them respectfully and appreciate their efforts to be consistently there for you. Click here to see how to appreciate your provider. If you do childcare, make sure YOU know how important YOU are. Treat yourself respectfully and require your parents to do so as well. You are an asset to their family, not a servant. Behave as such and make sure your families know you believe in what you are doing.
Make sure for the safety of everyone, if you are using childcare or providing it, you go with a license. It’s good for everyone. If you are doing what’s best for the kids, you won’t have to worry about your licensing worker, she (or he) will be an asset to you in your business. If you are a parent, you will know your child is getting the safest care you can provide for them.
The bottom line is, if you are working with children in any capacity, make sure you are doing your best. Make sure you care about what you are doing. Make sure if you don’t enjoy it, you do something else. Kids deserve the very best of us. If you don’t want to be awesome at childcare, please choose another vocation. It will be better for you and the kids. If there are regulations in your state for childcare, follow them. Then you won’t have to worry about getting caught. Be awesome, the kids deserve it!
Click here to see what steps you need to take to become licensed in Oklahoma.
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