North Carolina Child Care State Regulations

Worker Qualifications
Staff: Must be at least 18.

Provider/Child Ratio
Age Range Ratios for Center Based Care in North Carolina

  • Up to Months (1:5)
  • 18 months (1:6)
  • 27 months (1:10)
  • 3 years (1:15)
  • 4 years (1:20)
  • 5 – 9 years (1:25)
  • 10 years and older (1:25)
  • Age Range Ratios for Small Family Child Care Homes
    Number of Children Allowed: 3-5 (plus 3 SAC)
    Maximum Number of Children to One Provider: 8, with no more than 5 preschool-age or younger
    Provider’s Own Children Counted: Yes, if preschool-age or younger

    Who’s Regulated by the Division of Child Development?

    If you are caring for more than two children who aren’t related to you for more than four hours a day, you might need to be licensed. If you do not meet any of the exemption scenarios provided below, then you need to apply for a license. The exemptions are:

    Recreational programs operated for less than four consecutive months in a year.

    Specialized activities or instruction such as athletics, dance, art, music lessons, horseback riding, gymnastics, or organized clubs for children, such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H groups, or boys and girls clubs
    Drop-in or short-term care provided while parents participate in activities that are not employment related and where the parents are on the premises or otherwise easily accessible, such as drop-in or short-term care provided in health spas, bowling alleys, shopping malls, resort hotels, or churches

    Public Schools.

    Nonpublic schools that are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and that operate a child care facility for less than six and one-half hours per day.
    Vacation Bible Schools.

    Centers and Homes located on federal property over which the federal government has control (military based and the Cherokee Indian reservation).

    Cooperative arrangements among parents to provide care for their own children as a convenience rather than for employment

    Any child care program or arrangement consisting of two or more separate components, each of which operates for four hours or less per day with different children attending each component

    How Do I Get Licensed?

    Determine the kind of child care program you want to offer. This is important because the application/forms vary based on size and type of program.

    If you want to provide care in your home for a maximum of five preschool children, or up to eight children if at least three are school-aged, then you need to follow the Family Child Care Home application process

    If you want to provide care for more than five preschool children, then you need to follow the Child Care Centers application process. The number of children you can care for is based upon indoor and outdoor square footage, completed building fire and sanitation inspections and any local zoning ordinances

    Child Care Center Application Process:

    1. Contact the Division of Child Development and request the Basic Information for Potential Providers booklet. You can call our toll-free number 800.859.0829 (in-state calls only) or 919.662.4499. The booklet, available free of charge, describes the state requirements for operating a Child Care Center in North Carolina. Check with your county or city governments to find out if there are additional local standards.

    2. A registration form to attend a Prelicensing Workshop is included with the Basic Information for Potential Providers booklet. Attendance at a Prelicensing Workshop is required for anyone interested in opening a Child Care Center. The workshop leader will discuss topics such as:

    Issues to consider in selecting both a site and a building for a Child Care Center
    The role of building, fire, and sanitation inspectors, as well as the child care consultants
    Caregiving requirements for young children

    This change is effective January 1, 2010
    The cost of the two day workshop is $100.00 for one person. You will receive a copy of the Child Care Handbook, which describes North Carolina licensing requirements and includes resource materials. The cost for a second person is $75.00 if the handbook is shared during the workshop.

    3. After attending the Prelicensing Workshop, you will receive the name and phone number of the Licensing supervisor in your area. The licensing supervisor will assign a child care consultant to work with you. Your consultant will schedule several prelicensing visits with you to talk about the specific licensing requirements for your center and to assist you in completing the application forms.

    4. Once it is determined that all applicable requirements have been met, the license will be issued.

    Family Child Care Home Application Process:

    1. Contact the Division of Child Development to request a Family Child Care Home Application Packet. You may reach the Division at 800.859.0829 (in-state calls only) or 919.662.4499. There is a $3.00 charge for the Application Packet. The packet contains age and education requirements, an operator checklist, application forms, and a printed materials order form.

    A copy of the child care law and rules are not included in the application packet. You will need to purchase these documents by completing the printed materials order form that is included in the packet. You may purchase a single copy of the child care law and rules for homes or purchase the Family Child Care Home Handbook, which includes the law and rules, as well as additional handouts and resources. Be sure to check with your county or city governments to find out if there are additional local standards.

    2. If you have questions regarding the information in the application packet, contact the child care consultant that is listed on the cover of your packet.

    3. Complete the application form and mail it to your consultant. Your consultant will usually contact you within two weeks of receiving your application to arrange a time to visit your home and complete the application process.

    4. The application packet also explains the steps to complete the required Criminal Records Background Check. The operator of the Family Child Care Home, as well as any employees, must complete the Criminal Record Background Check. New Family Child Care Home providers must ensure that all household members over the age of 15 who are present while children are in care also complete a Criminal Record Background Check.

    5. Once it is determined that all applicable requirements have been met, the license will be issued.

    6. Many local resource and referral agencies offer family child care home pre-licensing workshops. These workshops provide an overview of the North Carolina Family Child Care Home regulations, and can be helpful if you are planning to open and operate a family child care home. Contact your local resource and referral agency to find out their schedule of upcoming workshops.
    ________________________________________
    Contact Information

    Child Care Licensing Agency
    North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
    Division of Child Development
    Regulatory Services Section
    2201 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC 27699-2201
    Phone: (919) 662-4499
    Toll Free: (800) 859-0829 (within State)
    Fax: (919) 661-4845

    North Carolina Daycare Listings

    Child Care Subsidy Agency
    North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
    Division of Child Development
    2201 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC 27699-2201
    Phone: (919) 662-4499
    Toll Free: (800) 859-0829 (within State)
    Fax: (919) 661-4845

    Head Start – State Collaboration Office
    Division of Child Development
    2075 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC, 27699-2075
    Phone: (919) 981-5300
    Fax: (919) 855-6840

    Child Care Food Program Agency
    Nutrition Services Branch
    Health & Human Services Section
    1914 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1914
    Phone: (919) 707-5799
    Fax: (919) 870-4819 State Child Care Resource & Referral Contact

    Child Care Resources Inc.
    4601 Park Road, Suite 500
    Charlotte, NC 28209
    Phone: (704) 276-6697 or (704) 376-6697
    Fax: (704) 376-7865

    Office of Child Support Enforcement
    Child Support Enforcement
    Department of Human Resources
    P.O.Box 20800
    Raleigh, North Carolina 27619-0800
    Phone: (919) 255-3800
    Fax: (919) 212-3840

    Child Abuse Reporting
    To report suspected child abuse in North Carolina, call North Carolina’s Care Line (800) 662-7030 or (919) 829-8009 (800-CHILDREN) or a Sheriff’s Department or any county Department of Human Resources office.
    For national child abuse information, call the Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline (staffed 24 hours daily with professional crisis counselors): 1-800-4-A-CHILD or 1-800-2-A-CHILD (T.D.D)

    Comments

    • sequoyah jones  On November 3, 2010 at 11:19 am

      this is a good website but i wonder if you have to go to college to become a child care provider.i also would like to know how long would i have to go?anyways suppose iwas going to open a child care center how many kids will they allow me to have under the age of 13? because if i do open a hild care center i want at least 6 kids 13 and younger because i love working with young kids.

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