Tennessee Tennessee

Licensing Standards for DayCare Centers


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1240-4-3-.01
INTRODUCTION

1)  PURPOSE OF LICENSING  The primary purpose of 


licensing is the protection of children.  Minimum 


requirements seek to maintain adequate health, safety, and 


supervision of children while in day care.  Developmental 


child care as provided for in the "Recommendations" 


provides educational experiences and guidance, health 


services, and social services to children and their families. 


 


(2)  Child care services may be offered by family day care 


homes, group day care homes, day care or child 


development centers, nursery schools, day nurseries, and 


kindergartens, among others.  (The term day care has been 


changed in this revision to child care because of the many 


types of care now available.) 


 


(3)  LEGAL BASIS FOR LICENSING.  T.C.A.   71-3-


501 through 71-3-531 provide for the defining, inspection, 


licensing, and regulation of child care agencies.  The 


Tennessee Department of Human Services has responsibility 


for licensing most agencies offering child care to groups of 


children.  The Tennessee Department of Education regulates 


child care provided by schools pursuant to T.C.A  49-2-


203 and by church-related schools as defined in T.C.A  49-


50-801. 


 


(4)  DEFINITIONS. 





        (A)  For purposes of this chapter, the following 


definitions are applicable: 





                1.  Annual License - An annual permit 


issued by the Department to a child welfare agency, 


authorizing the licensee to provide child care in accordance 


with provisions of the license, the law, and requirements 


(rules) of the Department.  Issuance of a license is not an 


endorsement of child care methods or of an agency's 


operational philosophy.  A license is not transferable from 


one location to another or from licensee/operator to another.  


The license may be revoked at any time upon 90-days notice 


to the licensee, or if the health, safety, or welfare of the 


children in care imperatively requiring it may be summarily 


suspended. 





                2.  Approval - Public agencies, as defined 


in T.C.A.  71-3-501 and 71-3-518, receive an approval 


rather than a license.  An approved agency must meet the 


same requirements and is evaluated in the same manner as a 


licensed agency.  The term is also applied to homes with 


fewer than five children that are satellites of a licensed day 


care center or child-placing agency (see T.C.A.  71-3-504). 





                3.  Central Operator - The person(s), 


corporation, partnership, cooperative, or other private or 


public organization which, in addition to other activities, if 


any, operates a child care system consisting of two or more 


day care homes.  The central operator must be a licensed 


child placing agency or an incorporated child care center, 


unless it is an approved public agency meeting the 


requirements of T.C.A.  71-3-518.  The central operator 


may also provide the homes in the system with 


administrative or support services such as, but not limited 


to, training, technical assistance, supervision, and provision 


of or referral to health and social services. 





                4.  Child - A person under 17 years of age. 





                5.  Child Care - The wide variety of 


arrangements made by parents (or guardians) for the care 


outside of their home of children under 17 years of age, for 


less than 24-hour periods. 





                6.  Child Care Center - Any place 


operated by a person, society, agency, corporation, 


institution, or religious organization or any other group 


which receives 13 or more children under 17 years of age 


for less than 24 hours a day, without transfer of custody. 





                7.  Child Care Handbook - The 


publication provided by the Department to the operator of 


child care centers (day care centers) which contains 


references to these rules, recommended practices, 


guidelines, and appendices related to the operation of the 


child care center.  Any conflicts between rules and 


appendices therein and these rules shall be resolved by 


reference to these rules. 





                8.  Child Care System - A group of two or 


more approved day care homes in which each is related to a 


licensed or approved central operator through contractual or 


employment arrangements. 





                9.  Conditional License - A permit issued 


by the Department to a new child welfare agency or to a 


new child care system central operator, permitting and 


authorizing the licensee to begin child care operations.  It is 


valid, unless suspended, for 90 days or until the application 


for an annual license if finally determined and is issued 


upon application by the operator only if the staff and facility 


do not present any apparent hazards to the children that may 


be in care and only if the facility has received fire safety and 


environmental sanitation approval.  If, at the end of the 90-


day period, evidence is provided by the applicant/licensee 


that such child welfare agency is suitable and properly 


managed and that the agency is in compliance with these 


rules, the Department will issue an annual license to the 


child welfare agency. 





                10.  Day Care - Synonymous with 


definition of child care, above. 





                11.  Department (DHS) - The Tennessee 


Department of Human Services and its representatives. 





                12. Director - The person with overall 


responsibility for the program. 





                13.  High School Diploma - As used in the 


context of caregivers' qualifications, refers to a document 


recognizing graduation from an accredited institution, 


public or private, based on the issuing state's required 


number of academic credits, including passing a GED test. 


As used in this Chapter, a certificate or statement of 


attendance or similar document, or correspondence or video 


courses, do not qualify as or for a high school diploma. 





                14.  Infant - A child who is six weeks 


through 15 months of age. 





                15.  Kindergarten - For licensing 


purposes, the definition of a child care center excludes 


kindergarten programs for five-year-old children operated 


on essentially the same time schedule as public school 


kindergartens.  A kindergarten may be part of a public or 


private school system or may be operated independently.  If 


the agency serves children under five years of age or 


exceeds the time schedule normally observed by public 


kindergartens, it must be licensed. 





                16.  Law - Statutory or regulatory 


provisions affecting the operation of a child welfare agency 


including the licensing law as contained in T.C.A.  71-3-


501 through 71-3-531 and these rules. 





                17.  Licensee - The person, agency, or 


group to whom a license to operate a child care center is 


issued and who must assume ultimate responsibility for the 


child care center.  References to a licensee in the 


requirements also applies to operators of an agency seeking 


or having received an approval. 





                18. Parent - A biological or adoptive 


parent, guardian, or custodian who has primary 


responsibility for a child. 





                19.  Preschool Child - A person who is 31 


months through five years old; use of the term also includes 


infants and toddlers. 





                20.  School-age child - A person who is 


five years of age and in kindergarten or older (generally 


through grade six). 





                21.  Staff - Full and part-time caregivers, 


employees, or unpaid volunteers. 





                22.  Toddler - A child who is 12 months 


through 30 months of age 


 


(5)  BASIS FOR APPROVAL FOR LICENSE 





        (A)  Annual License-Standards:  Tennessee law 


requires that all child welfare agencies, as defined in T.C.A. 


 71-3-501, must be licensed annually by the Department.  


The license is based on standards developed and published 


in accordance with the following six points of excellence: 





                1.  The present need for the proposed 


child welfare agency; 





                2.  The good character and intention of the 


applicant; 





                3.  The adequate financing of the 


organization; 





                4.  The capability, training, and 


experience of the workers employed; 





                5.  The facilities for and the methods of 


care provided and the consideration of the best interest of 


the child and the welfare of society in any placement of 


children to be made; and 





                6.  The probability of permanence of the 


child welfare agency. 





        (B)  Conditional License:  The provisions of 


T.C.A.  71-3-506 and Chapter 1240-5-11 are applicable.  


 


(6)  LICENSING PROCEDURE. 





        (A)  Issuance of License - Fees.  The provisions of 


T.C.A.  71-3-506 are applicable. 





        (B)  Inspection of Licensed Agencies - The 


provisions of T.C.A.  71-3-519 are applicable. 





        (C)  Public Agencies - Inspection and Report.  The 


provisions of T.C.A  71-3-518 are applicable. 





        (D)  Penalty for Unlicensed Operation - The 


provisions of T.C.A.  71-3-513 are applicable. 





        (E)  Denial, Suspension, and/or Revocation of 


License - The provisions of T.C.A  4-5-320, 71-3-508, 71-


3-509, 71-3-521, 71-3-530, and Chapter 1240-5-11 are 


applicable. 





        (F)  Appeals from Board of Review - The 


provisions of T.C.A.  71-3-512 are applicable. 





        (G)  Annual Reports - The provisions of T.C.A.  


71-3-517 are applicable. 





        (H)  Consultation: 





                1.  The provisions of T.C.A.  71-3-505 


are applicable. 





                2.  The Department has responsibility for 


offering consultation to existing child care agencies.  


Consultation is given directly to staff and boards, on both an 


individual and group basis, in developing and improving 


programs and physical facilities.  The Department also 


provides consultation to organizations or individuals 


interested in opening a child care facility and will direct 


persons to the proper officials governing health, fire, 


building, and zoning requirements in each community. 


 


STANDARDS FOR CHILD CARE CENTERS 


 


In the following rules, references to several appendices in 


the 1987 edition have been removed. 


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