What should parents know about the licensing procedure for childcare?
The first thing a parent should know is that it varies from state to state. Depending upon what state you live in, there is different processes. You can contact: www.childcareaware.org
. They are a national resource and referral agency that will let you know who to contact in your state, to find out what the process is.
I'm familiar with California. I live in California. It's three steps for someone to become licensed. First, they attend an orientation that is about two hours. In California, we even have it online. Once they attend the orientation, they fill out an application. If you are a family childcare, you fill out the application and you mail it in, and wait for licensing to contact you. They are going to come out and investigate your facility. If you are a center, you have a couple more steps to do, but it is the same process. Licensing will come out and visit the facility.
One thing that parents should know about the licensing process is, once a facility is licensed -- I'll give an example. In the state of California, that means that licensing came out. They are a health and safety organization. They came out and they checked to see, is the pool covered? Do you have an appropriate fire extinguisher? Are the plugs in? They are looking for health and safety things.
In the state of California, to become a family childcare provider, you would go to the orientation, you would fill out an application, licensing would come out. You would take a 15 hour course on health and safety, CPR, and first aid. You are not required to have any other courses to become a childcare provider; no child development. It does vary state to state.
There are states that will come out quarterly, to check on them. In the state of California, unfortunately, once you are licensed, unless there is a complaint; they may not come out for another five years to check it out.
You really need to check out what the regulations are in your state and what the process is. You are the advocate, as a parent. You want to find out what goes on in your state.