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Licensing Standards for DayCare Centers

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  1. A Center shall ensure that all staff use positive age appropriate methods of discipline and guidance of children which encourage self-control, self-direction, self-esteem and cooperation.

A. Praise, rewards and encouragement, rather than punishment, shall be emphasized.
B. Responses to a child's behavior shall be appropriate to the child's developmental level.
C. Corporal punishments inflicted in any way on a child's body including shaking, biting, pinching, slapping or spanking shall be prohibited.
D. Children shall not be humiliated, frightened or verbally, physically or sexually abused by staff.
E. Children shall not be deprived of food or toilet use as punishments.
F. Children shall not be tied or placed in mechanical restraints as a punishment.
G. Children shall not be isolated without supervision.
H. Children shall not be punished for not going to sleep, toileting accidents, failure to eat all or part of food or failure to complete a prescribed activity.
I. A Center shall have a written statement in plain language regarding the discipline and guidance of children. The statement on discipline shall be posted in a prominent place in the Center and routinely provided to parents and staff, including substitutes and volunteers.


  1. A Center shall ensure that the daily population at the Center is in accordance with any size restrictions on the Center's license.

  1. A Center shall make every effort to ensure that admission procedures involve a meeting with the parent(s) or parent substitute and child whenever possible to:

A. Secure necessary information about the child;
B. Determine if the child can benefit from the day care program;
C. Provide parent(s) with the Center's policies as required; and
D. Provide an opportunity for parent(s) and child to observe the Center and program.


  1. A Center shall have and use a written policy regarding parent communication and involvement in the Center including:

A. Assurances that parent visits and parent monitoring of the program are welcomed;
B. Procedures for ensuring that parent(s) are kept informed concerning the program and their child;
C. Opportunities for involvement of parent(s) in the Center;
D. Procedures for a minimum of one (1) conference annually between Center staff and parent(s);
E. A procedure encouraging parent(s) to review current licensing requirements made available at the Center;
F. A clear procedure for making and handling parental complaints regarding the Center;
G. A daily overall schedule of the Center's programs and activities; and
H. Procedures related to release of children.

  1. This policy shall be provided to parent(s) upon enrollment.

  1. A Center shall ensure that parent(s) shall have access to the Center to observe their children at any time without prior approval of the Center.


  1. A Center shall have a program of varied activities and sufficient equipment and supplies to implement that program.

A. The Center shall have a program of varied activities designed to promote the development of language and thinking skills, large and small muscles, social skills, self-esteem and postive self-image, as appropriate to the ages and functioning levels of children in care.
B. The program shall ensure that children do not spend excessive units of time sitting or confined to cribs or playpens.

  1. The program in a Center shall provide physical care routines appropriate to each child's developmental needs, including a supervised rest period after the noon meal.

A. A Center shall provide opportunities for rest/sleep for each child in attendance according to the child's individual physical needs.
B. An alternative quiet activity shall be provided for those children who have rested or slept for thirty (30) minutes and do not appear to need additional rest or sleep.
C. The rest area(s) shall be adequately lighted to allow visual supervision at all times.

  1. The program shall include indoor and outdoor time periods with:

A. Alternating active and quiet activities;
B. Opportunity for individual and group activities;
C. Outdoor time each day that weather permits; and
D. Opportunities for children to choose materials freely.

  1. A Center shall develop and keep on file a written plan of daily activities appropriate to the developmental levels of children and the type of program offered.

INFANT AND TODDLER CARE (Under two (2) years of age)

  1. A Center shall care for infants and toddlers in rooms and outdoor play areas separate from older children (unless 11 or fewer children are present).

  1. A caregiver shall always be in the room with the infants and toddlers.

  1. A Center shall allow each infant to spend time outside the crib or playpen each morning and afternoon in a sanitary area protected from foot traffic.

  1. A Center shall ensure that infants, while awake, remain in their cribs for no longer than one hour as long as they stay content and responsive.

  1. A Center shall provide low chairs and tables or infant seats with trays for table play and mealtime for children no longer being held for feeding. High chairs, if used, shall have a wide base and a safety strap.

  1. A Center shall provide a rocking chair or other comfortable adult-size seating for at least one-half of the caregivers on duty in the infant area.

  1. A Center shall provide a minimum of three (3) different age- appropriate daily activities from the following:

A. Sensory stimulation activities;
B. Language stimulation;
C. Activities designed to encourage coordination and fine motor skills;
D. Building activities;
E. Activities designed to encourage social interaction;
F. Large muscle activities;
G. Activities designed to encourage problem-solving and intellectual development; and
H. Musical activities.

  1. A Center shall maintain a record of each child's daily activities to be shared with the parent daily when the child is picked up.


  1. A Center shall provide a minimum of five (5) different age-appropriate daily activities from the following:

A. Art activities;
B. Large muscle activities;
C. Manipulative activities;
D. Musical activities;
E. Dramatic play;
F. Science activities;
G. Water, sand or other sensory activities;
H. Cooking activities; and
I. Language arts activities.


  1. A Center shall ensure that toys, play equipment and other equipment used by the children shall be of substantial construction and free from rough edges, sharp corners, pinch and crush points, splinters and exposed bolts.

  1. A Center shall provide play equipment and materials that are varied and appropriate to the developmental needs and ages of children.

A. There shall be a sufficient amount of play equipment and materials so that there is not excessive competition and long waits.

  1. A Center shall prohibit toys that explode or fire projectiles.

  1. A Center shall ensure that infants and toddlers do not have access to plastic bags, styrofoam objects or toys and objects with a diameter of less than one (l) inch.


  1. A Center shall provide adequate staff supervision of children during trips off the Center's premises to ensure safety.

  1. During routine program outings in close proximity to the Center, a Center shall have a minimum of two (2) caregivers or other adults with staff/child ratios maintained in accordance with Requirement 92.

  1. During field trips, the staff/child ratios shall be according to the chart below:

    Age of Youngest Child in Group
    Maximum Number of Children to be Supervised by One Adult
    0 - 23 months 2
    2 years 6
    3 years 8
    4 years 9
    5 years ll
    6 years and older l5

A. Staff shall have a list of the children present and shall check the roll frequently.
B. Staff shall have access to medical consent forms nd emergency contact information for all children.
C. Staff must have first aid supplies available.
D. Children shall have tags or other means of providing a contact telephone number.
E. Staff shall have a plan for transportation of children in the event of an emergency.


  1. A Center shall ensure that no person smokes in the presence of children at the Center or shows signs of alcohol or drug use while at the Center.


  1. A Center shall have and use written policy and procedures for the release of children including:

A. Procedures ensuring documentation of the release of the child from the responsibility of Center staff to an authorized person;
B. Procedures for emergency release of children;
C. Procedures regarding the release of the child to any person not known to Center staff; and
D. Procedures to be followed when a person not authorized to receive a child or a person showing clear signs of drug or alcohol use requests release of a child;
E. This release policy shall be provided to all parents, staff members and volunteers.

  1. A Center shall ensure that a child is released only to a parent or a person authorized by the parent to receive the child.

  1. A Center shall have a procedure to verify the identity of any person receiving a child prior to releasing the child when that person is not known to Center staff and shall keep written documentation of such verification for at least 24 hours.

  1. When a parent calls the Center requesting emergency release of a child, the Center shall verify the identity of the parent prior to releasing the child.

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