Guidelines for Home Daycares


If you have a love of children and a desire to earn money, you may consider applying for a job at a daycare center or becoming a nanny. However, these are not your only options. If you'd like to work from home, you can choose to operate an in-home daycare. The first step is learning the guidelines for this type of business.


  • When you operate a home daycare, you may provide care for children of various ages. You'll typically care for them while their parents go to work, but some parents desire care while they pursue recreational opportunities as well. Running a home daycare involves providing a safe, fun, nurturing environment for children while their parents are unavailable.This also involves providing food, or a least supervising meals, and depending on the age of the children you take on, it may also involve changing diapers.


  • There are guidelines that you must follow for opening a home daycare. However, these guidelines are not the same in every state. For example, one state may require a home daycare provider to obtain a license, while another may allow unlicensed home daycare situations. Some states even have both options, and a provider can choose between becoming licensed and staying unlicensed. However, there may be restrictions in place for how many children a home daycare provider can care for in each licensing situation. Some states also require background checks and child abuse clearances (see Resources below).


  • According to the National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center (NCCIC), many states allow a home daycare provider to care for up to 6 children that are not related to her at one time. Others also offer a group home daycare option, which allows for taking care of up to 10 or 12 children at one time. The number allowed in unlicensed home daycare situations varies, but some states allow unlicensed providers to care for up to 3 children at one time (see Resources below).


  • It is a misconception that home daycare businesses don't have to meet state-imposed safety requirements. Typically, a home daycare will have to follow certain health and safety regulations. For example, a state licensing agency may require home daycares to have fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. It may also require providers to have a plan posted for getting out of the home in the event of a fire. Some states also have requirements in terms of sanitation. They may have rules and regulations regarding hand washing and disinfecting surfaces after diaper changes, following feedings, at the end of the day and even before the children return to the daycare setting the next day. Some states also have requirements concerning the ratios of providers to children in a daycare setting. Often, 1 provider is acceptable for up to 6 daycare children. More may be necessary, however, in group daycare settings or when babies or toddlers are enrolled.


  • Getting licensed as a home daycare may require providers to go through inspections and meet certain guidelines, which may affect the provider financially. There may be expenses involved if the provider is required to take CPR courses, buy safety equipment, renovate his home or undergo training. However, becoming licensed has its perks. First, many parents feel more comfortable leaving their children in licensed home daycare settings. This can mean more potential clients and more money for providers. Likewise, some states offer subsidies and incentives for licensed providers. For example, it is possible to get assistance with buying food for daycare children in some states as long as you have a home daycare license.

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