How to Obtain a Pennsylvania Daycare License

Licensing makes your day care more appealing to parents
Licensing makes your day care more appealing to parents (Image: Stockbroker/Valueline/Getty Images)

Opening a child care center in Pennsylvania is a great way to combine a love of children with an income generating business. Once you meet a few requirements, setup is simple, and you will be on your way to running your own business. Obtaining a license is the first step toward reaching your goal. It's a legal necessity and an important document to be able to show interested parents. They need to know that they can trust you, and being licensed is your evidence.

Arrange an orientation with the Department of Public Welfare within 12 months of when you would like to begin operation of your child care center. The department also requires that you take a minimum 6 hours of annual training, not including this orientation.

Fill out an application for a Pennsylvania State child care license. You can call (877) 4-PA-KIDS to obtain an application and find out more information. Return the form completely filled out with any necessary fees.

Become accredited. Pennsylvania State law requires that a child care supervisor be at least 18 years of age and have a bachelor's degree in a child-related field such as early childhood education, special education, child development, elementary education or human services, and 1 year of experience with children. Alternatively he can be certified with bachelor's degree in another field with at least 30 credits in a child-related field plus a year's experience working with children. Other degrees may be acceptable depending on prior work experience with children.

Hire the right amount of staff. The law in Pennsylvania requires very specific staff to child ratios from one staff worker to every four infants, with a maximum of eight children to one staff member for every 15 children, over age 10, with a maximum of 30 children. The facility may not hire anyone who is known to be convicted of or waiting to go on trial for child abuse, child neglect, physical violence or moral corruptness.

Find an appropriate location. You need to obtain a certificate of compliance for the location of the the center which is issued by the Department of Public Welfare and is valid for 12 months.The Pennsylvania Public Welfare licensing department will inspect the venue for toxicity, sanitation, ventilation and more once every 12 months from the issuance date of the certificate of compliance. Inspections may be announced or unannounced.

Renew the license as per the State's regulations. The department of Public Welfare will issue the license and specify an expiration date based on their assessment of your organization.

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