North Carolina Childcare
North Carolina Daycare
State Requirements

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Licensing Requirements
Your state's Licensing Requirements
and contact numbers.

 Licensing Requirements for Daycare Facilities  General Statutes for Daycare Facilities
 Daycare Center Pre-Licensing Workshops  Drop-In Daycare / Short-Term Child Care
 Sanitation of Child Care Centers DHHS Criminal Record Checks
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)


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