Preparing for your Childcare Licensing Visit from DHS
In Oklahoma, DHS does quarterly, unannounced visits to check for licensing requirement compliance for family childcare homes. If you have been licensed for a number of years, these visits are old hat, but if you are new, it can be intimidating. If you live in a state that doesn’t require childcare licensing, it’s a good idea to follow most of these guidelines anyway.
One of the best ways to be prepared for your licensing visit is to keep your paperwork organized. Click here to see how to organize all the papers you need to run your business. In Oklahoma, there are a ton of new childcare licensing requirements as of November, 2016. Click here to see how to navigate them. Click here for links to much of the paperwork you might need.
Children’s safety in childcare is important.
DHS licensing staff must be allowed to access all areas of your home. This may seem like an invasion of privacy, but DHS is charged with the safety of children in childcare. They need access to all areas to ensure there are not extra children or dangerous items being hidden by providers. You may think that’s ridiculous but people have done some ridiculous things to make this a requirement. In any event, it’s not your Licensing specialist’s fault there are rules, it’s because of poor choices providers have made in the past. They are just trying to do their job of ensuring children have safe places to receive care.
You may think that’s ridiculous but people have done some ridiculous things to make this a requirement. In any event, it’s not your Licensing specialist’s fault there are rules, it’s because of poor choices providers have made in the past. They are just trying to do their job of ensuring children have safe places to receive care.
For my DHS childcare licensing visits, I have two notebooks. The licensing specialists I’ve had over the years have LOVED them! They have even used them to teach classes on this subject, so they are very effective. I have one notebook for attendance records, my calendar, waiting list, and other daily information I need. The other notebook is for my registry, certificates, enrollment forms, shot records, medication information, and food program paperwork.
Keeping all your paperwork straight for your childcare licensing visit.
In addition to the notebooks, there is a place by the front door for my required postings and my bulletin board for other things we are required to post but don’t have to be in the entry way.
The purpose of childcare licensing visits is to ensure safety for children. In my opinion, this is a good thing. Rules help keep people safe. Children deserve the very best.
My licensing worker is very nice and really wants children to be in quality environments. She knows when people are doing their jobs and when they are trying to skirt the rules. She has been my worker for many years now and she’s seen a lot and can tell when someone is trying to get over. The bottom line is if you are trying to be a really good provider, your licensing worker is an asset to you and part of your team to get there. Think of them as your partner.
Some of the rules DHS has for providers seem silly and some are obviously necessary. The ones that seem ridiculous to you are there because they were needed at one time. It’s hard to keep up with the new rules that pop up all the time. The licensing reps have a big job in spreading the news about all of that.
Cheat Sheet for Childcare Licensing Visit
Notice to Parents, Compliance File
Emergency Info-Contact for: Physician, police, poison control, sub, and parent contact.
Notice to Parents, Insurance Info
Most recent monitoring visit sheet
Notice to comply
Fire extinguisher with Expiration Date
Working and accessible flashlight
First Aid Kit Including:
First Aid guide
Fire/Tornado Drills and Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector checks
Child info card
Medication Permissions/dosages recorded
Liability insurance information
Compliance file information
Training records including ELG within one year of opening business
CPR/First Aid Certificate/Card
Water Testing if rural water
Weapons (you must claim and store weapons properly)
Animals including rabies vaccination records
Menu posted and followed
Emergency contacts for children
(these are only required if you transport)
Doors unlock easily from outside
Safe water temp.
Cribs meet standards (certificate required)
Mats are 2 inches thick
Nonporous, sanitized surface
Soiled diapers in covered container
Free of hazards
Free of animal waste
Clear glass doors marked at child’s eye level
Thermometer in fridge registering at 41 or below.
Frozen items in freezer.
Areas of improvement:
Childcare licensing requirements explained further:
- Adult/Child Ratios for a family child care provider are:
7 kids over the age of 2
Up to 2 children under the age of two with 5 children over the age of 2 for a total of 7
Up to 3 children under the age of 2 with 3 children over the age of 2 for a total of 6
Up to 4 children under the age of 2 with 1 child over the age of 2 for a total of 5
Up to 5 children under the age of 2 with 0 children over the age of 2 for a total of 5
- Notice to Parents:
This notice is required to be posted at the entrance of the facility in a noticeable place. It informs parents about the compliance file and what records are accessible for parents to review. Click here to print out a copy for your facility.
- Emergency Contact Info:
You should have these numbers posted in a visible area such as your bulletin board for easy access in an emergency.
- Insurance Info:
If you do not carry liability insurance for your childcare facility, you must inform parents and post the notice at the entrance of the facility in a noticeable place. Click here to print out a copy for your facility.
- Your License must be posted in a visible area such as your bulletin board.
- Your compliance file must be accessible for parents who wish to view it and should contain the items listed on the checklist.
Hazards that should be out of children’s reach include; razors, shampoo, conditioner, perfumes, lotions, shaving cream, toothpaste, and other body products or cleaning products.
Safe water temp is 120 degrees or less. Warm water must be available for hand washing.
Cribs or pack and plays for infants should be totally empty except for a firm mattress with a tight fitting sheet. No pillows, blankets, toys or stuffed animals for any child under the age of 1 and they should be placed on their backs to sleep. Check the sticker on your sleeping furniture to make sure it is safe, it should show a manufacture date of June 28, 2011 or later. If it’s before that, don’t use it. Click here for more information on safe sleeping for infants.
- Areas of Improvement:
When improvements are made to the childcare facility, it’s best to write them down and store them in your notebook. When my licensing worker is here, I can never remember what improvements I have made.
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Childcare licensing is for your good.
All of these rules and hoops to jump through are for the good of the provider, children, and families we serve. There are many things you get with a licensed provider that may not be as safe in an unlicensed home. Click here to see why you need a license or should be using licensed care for your child.
There are a lot of other requirements for the family childcare home, click here to see the entire book. Note, rules are added and you will be informed by your licensing rep or by letters in the mail from DHS, so this rule book is not all inclusive.
Don’t forget to pin for later.