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There are many different home daycare regulations depending on where you might live. Each state has its own set of rules. You’ll need to check for your area. There are regulations that oversee running a home daycare in each state. Some states require a license, some a registration, some don’t require either. Some states charge for licensing or registration, and some don’t.
Some states have ratios for how many kids you can keep in your home daycare, and some don’t. Some allow a small number of children to be cared for without any regulation at all.
In Oklahoma, even to keep one child that is not a relative, you must go through the full licensing process. Other states allow you to keep 1-5 children without it. Check your state’s regulations and abide by them. I’ve seen so many times, providers get turned in for not complying with the law and it hurts the families they serve more than anyone else.
Unlicensed childcare can be good, I used one when my daughter was a child. She did a great job and took pride in her work. But not everyone will do that on their own. Some people will have candles burning on the coffee table in the room they keep the kids, or be keeping 17 kids by themselves and not have a CPR or first aid certification. I mean, did you look in the closet?
If it’s permitted to do home child care without a license in your state, make sure you are trained in life-saving skills, and make a plan of what kind of care you’re going to provide and then have at it. A license doesn’t guarantee safety or good care at all. I have seen a lot of licensed home daycares where the provider sleeps while the kids play or even worse.
Child care regulations by state
Check out this website and click on your state to find out who regulates childcare in your state. Most of the time, it’s a social services department of some kind. In Oklahoma, it’s the department of human services. For information on Oklahoma licensing regulations, click the highlighted link.
Once you find the agency, you can look for home daycare regulations on their website to find what you need to do.
There may also be neighborhood requirements or city ordinances you must follow. And remember if you are renting, you will need written permission from your property owner to run a home daycare.
Requirements for home daycare
Should you open a home daycare? Read this to see if you may be suited for it. And remember, at least for me, the most stressful part of home daycare is the regulating agency and their lack of respect, understanding, and consistency in overseeing what we do.
Oklahoma Human Services is BY FAR, the most awful part of my job. Worse than being vomited on or diarrheaed on, worse than complaining parents, worse than a biting child. Worst than all the other negative parts of the job put together.
Their rules don’t make sense, they don’t care about the safety of the kids or the sanity of the provider, and they are menacing and prevent me from being the best provider I can be. But they are a necessary evil, like most government entities.
They originally meant well I think, but since I started in 1995, they have gone from an agency to support and help providers give a safe and loving place for children to grow, to a lording it-over-you, draconian agency on a power trip that tries to bribe providers to conform to their will with subsidy money.
I would have many more wonderful years in me if not for them, but since I have to deal with them, I’m looking to retire in about 5. It’s sad, but it’s reality. I have seen people spend a great deal of money and effort fixing up a building and preparing to open, only to try to go through the licensing process and meet the licensing worker and change their mind.
They didn’t fail the licensing, they actually said, forget it, it’s not worth working with this person to run a business and walked away losing all their money. And I totally get it. You have to be able to work with your licensing agency to do your job. And here in Oklahoma, it’s HARD!
If you can’t get along with them, you need to do something else. I have always been able to get along with my workers well, so I could do it. But the agency as a whole has been difficult. I still super love my kids and families though, so I hang in there.
The basic requirements for home daycare should be:
- Safety with a trained provider such as CPR, first aid, health and development, and disaster preparedness training.
- A safe environment such as a fenced-in yard, cabinet locks, plug covers, and properly stored cleaners and medications.
- A provider with a good temperament to care for the children who supervises them actively, engages them in play, and treats them lovingly.
- Good food with a variety of proteins, grains, and fruits and vegetables.
- Soft places to play and rest.
- Comfortable temperature control.
- Toys and supplies for kids to use.
- Proper bathroom facilities for kids to use and changing area for diapers.
How to start a home daycare
First, understand your customer base. Who will you serve? Is there a need? What is the average price in the area? Then come up with a business plan. Find out the regulations and plan out your long term financial plan. Definitely plan for more. There are going to be things that come up that you didn’t think of and there are going to be times when you have more kids than you thought.
Now figure out how much you should charge parents and whether it’s profitable. Then read should I start a home daycare and decide if the job is right for you. Next, consult a business attorney and come up with a name. Make sure the name is fun and inviting but describes a little of you.
And lastly, go through orientation, get training, and turn in your application for whatever regulations apply to you. Then you’re ready for inspection.
Starting a home daycare checklist
For more about starting a home daycare, click here.
There are several things to consider when starting a home daycare when counting the cost and the income you can make.
- Staff to child ratio
- Supervision of children
- Safety of the building
- Immunizations, handwashing, and diapering/toileting
- Health of the provider
- Nutrition of food
- Alterations to your house
- Extra staff
Once you have all of these things figured out and in order, check out all the MUST haves for home daycare here.