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  #1  
Old 10-01-2015, 12:45 PM
mmunchkins mmunchkins is offline
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Default Cook County Illinois DCFS HELP!

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum and I really need some help and advice. I have been a childcare worker for almost 20 years, and I decided to start a home daycare to enable me to stay home with my son. I printed out the DCFS licensing guidelines and read the entire thing front to back and did not see any potential barriers to our daycare becoming licensed.

We own and live in a 3 flat (1st and 2nd floor apts, and a Garden apt), and our basement apartment lease was up Sept 1. I purchased everything to convert this space into a daycare, painted, put in furniture, have cameras to install, etc.

THEN, I sat down to begin the process for licensure and discovered the MAJOR hitch that I can't obtain a license because our basement is detached. To say I am stressed out is a major understatement. I did not see ANYTHING in the document that states I cannot operate a home daycare out of a detached basement.

Frankly, I am license exempt because of numbers, but now I'm concerned about possible penalties. Can I be fined if I continue to operate as license exempt in the detached basement? I have an LLC and plan to claim all income/pay taxes. I really thought I was doing this correctly.

What the heck should I do?! I feel totally screwed right now. I am so upset I could cry!

My other question is: If I legally changed my residence to unit G and for all intents and purposes made it look as though I live in that space, would I be at risk if DCFS found out I live in unit 2?

What constitutes living in that space? Sleeping there?

Ughhhhhhh!

Please help. Any and all advice is welcome.
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2015, 12:50 PM
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Controlled Chaos Controlled Chaos is offline
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I have zero advice but that is annoying, I am sorry If you don't legally have to be licensed...I might skip it...
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Old 10-01-2015, 01:02 PM
mmunchkins mmunchkins is offline
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Thank you, Contolled Chaos. I know licensure isn't necessary in my case, but I guess I'm wondering if I'm at risk because of the fact that I'm operating out of a separate unit in our building? Like, in the very unlikely event that someone reported me, would I be at risk of some type of penalty?
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Old 10-01-2015, 01:04 PM
mmunchkins mmunchkins is offline
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I guess put another way, if you're license exempt, do you still have to follow certain rules? Would operation out of a separate unit be punishable in some fashion?
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Old 10-01-2015, 01:05 PM
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sahm1225 sahm1225 is offline
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What do you mean detached basement?

The guidelines do say that you must live in the residence. You could probably ask the general licensing number if living in the same building is enough.

I think the only other way to go around it would be to get licensed as a business/center, but then you would have to Deal with zoning issued.
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  #6  
Old 10-01-2015, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmunchkins View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum and I really need some help and advice. I have been a childcare worker for almost 20 years, and I decided to start a home daycare to enable me to stay home with my son. I printed out the DCFS licensing guidelines and read the entire thing front to back and did not see any potential barriers to our daycare becoming licensed.

We own and live in a 3 flat (1st and 2nd floor apts, and a Garden apt), and our basement apartment lease was up Sept 1. I purchased everything to convert this space into a daycare, painted, put in furniture, have cameras to install, etc.

THEN, I sat down to begin the process for licensure and discovered the MAJOR hitch that I can't obtain a license because our basement is detached. To say I am stressed out is a major understatement. I did not see ANYTHING in the document that states I cannot operate a home daycare out of a detached basement.

Frankly, I am license exempt because of numbers, but now I'm concerned about possible penalties. Can I be fined if I continue to operate as license exempt in the detached basement? I have an LLC and plan to claim all income/pay taxes. I really thought I was doing this correctly.

What the heck should I do?! I feel totally screwed right now. I am so upset I could cry!

My other question is: If I legally changed my residence to unit G and for all intents and purposes made it look as though I live in that space, would I be at risk if DCFS found out I live in unit 2?

What constitutes living in that space? Sleeping there?

Ughhhhhhh!

Please help. Any and all advice is welcome.
An LLC won't help you really in the event you get sued for childcare & it's a ton more paperwork than what you will already have... and do you need the income that 4 or more kids can net you, or can 3 pay the bills? I ask because being license exempt, you can get registered to take vouchers, however You must legally live in the residence; like sleep, eat etc - you get caught & you may not ever have a chance at a license, much less vouchers in the future because you will be considered to have committed fraud if the state is involved in any way
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  #7  
Old 10-01-2015, 01:12 PM
mmunchkins mmunchkins is offline
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A detached basement is a separate unit from my apartment, but still part of the building.
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  #8  
Old 10-01-2015, 01:13 PM
mmunchkins mmunchkins is offline
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So if you were me, would you start eating and sleeping there then? I can totally do that if it will keep me from getting into trouble.
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  #9  
Old 10-01-2015, 01:15 PM
mmunchkins mmunchkins is offline
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3 kids are all I'm going to take. So I'm not going to be breaking the license exempt rule for #'s, but I was just wondering if I could still get in trouble as license exempt if I'm not living there.
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  #10  
Old 10-01-2015, 01:29 PM
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Is it a stand alone apartment?
Then why would it be any different? If you have required amount of egress and exits. Why does it matter? I would call back. Talk to someone else. Have them give you the reg.
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  #11  
Old 10-01-2015, 01:32 PM
mmunchkins mmunchkins is offline
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It is a standalone apartment. It has all the required exits, etc. I am afraid to call because I don't want to ask for any trouble. My only guess is that it's different because it is like operating a center, which is ABSURD. If there was a door attaching my apartment to the basement, it would be fine. That's the only problem.
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  #12  
Old 10-01-2015, 01:36 PM
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Is the basement detached, like in a totally separate building? I guess I have never heard of that, as basements in our area have a space above, so if it is connected to your aapartment building in any way, I wouldn't think it qualifies as detached. Again, totally may be misunderstanding. But, if you are license exempt, then I guess I don't see how it would be a problem.

Just saw your post about it being a stand alone apartment. Can you just make that space your mailing address? How are they gonna know if you live there or not and if you are not licensed, you have no inspections, so I kind of doubt you would get in trouble, but again, I am not sure and hopefully others here can offer better advice! Good luck and it will work out so don't freak out too much!
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  #13  
Old 10-01-2015, 01:41 PM
mmunchkins mmunchkins is offline
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No, it's in our building. I read in the orientation materials (not the actual DCFS licensing document) that "unattached basements in multi-unit buildings" are not allowed.
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  #14  
Old 10-01-2015, 02:04 PM
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I am thinking if you are legally unlicensed it wouldn't matter. I can't get licensed because I rent and don't have a fence so I am operating legally unlicensed. You can call and ask, you don't have to give your name.
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Old 10-01-2015, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laundrymom View Post
Is it a stand alone apartment?
Then why would it be any different? If you have required amount of egress and exits. Why does it matter? I would call back. Talk to someone else. Have them give you the reg.
It matters because technically she would be operating an in HOME family child care out of a residence-home no one lives in.....like I do. But it's allowed/acceptable in MN.

It seems a majority of states require the provider to actually live in the residence.
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Old 10-01-2015, 02:28 PM
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If you are licensed exempt, then you should be okay.

To the pp who said how will they know - when they come to do a licensing visit, it will be obvious that she does not have her home in gene daycare (no bed, personal things, etc).

In lllinois, we are not allowed to have a home daycare unless it is our primary residence. I'm not sure I would risk an inspection and then try to justify that I live there since the licensors are not typically that forgiving or flexible.
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  #17  
Old 10-01-2015, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmunchkins View Post
No, it's in our building. I read in the orientation materials (not the actual DCFS licensing document) that "unattached basements in multi-unit buildings" are not allowed.
Personally, I wouldn't "pretend" to live there because that's too risky in my opinion.

What I would do though is contact a contractor and see about putting a doorway/stairs in the apartment above the basement (which I assume you live in) so that you have access to the basement.


Then the basement is no longer "detached" and would just be considered your basement. If everything else about the entire basement is up to licensing standards, I would think that (adding a stairwell/door) would be the easiest method of "fixing" your issue. Especially if you are planning on operating the child care ling term.

It would also be tax deductible so that part is a plus as well.
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  #18  
Old 10-01-2015, 03:19 PM
mmunchkins mmunchkins is offline
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In order for us to do that, we would have to completely remove the back of the entire house. That would cost 10's of thousands. I talked to my husband and it looks like we are going to move our bed down here so we can live here until I get the center going.
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  #19  
Old 10-01-2015, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmunchkins View Post
In order for us to do that, we would have to completely remove the back of the entire house. That would cost 10's of thousands. I talked to my husband and it looks like we are going to move our bed down here so we can live here until I get the center going.
But if you're only planning on watching 3 (which you can be exempt) , why would you need to move there?
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  #20  
Old 10-01-2015, 07:06 PM
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You can call licensing and ask about it. You shouldn't have to give your name or anything.
I've heard of daycares doing daycare in 2 flats at my orientation years ago and it sounded like it was up to tour individual licensor.
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  #21  
Old 10-02-2015, 06:45 AM
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What about putting in a spiral staircase up to the main floor . It would take up less room and cost much less .
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  #22  
Old 10-02-2015, 08:17 AM
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Really, you should just get with someone from licensing and have them come out to see the property and then do whatever they tell you needs to be done to be legal from the get go. I've dealt with DCFS for 25 years now and I've never found them to be difficult to deal with. Not wanting to contact them because you want to stay under the radar just doesn't seem like a great idea, at least to me.
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  #23  
Old 10-02-2015, 08:59 AM
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It sounds like there's something they're not understanding about the situation. If you own the entire building, then I'd think an exception could be made. You need to get them ti show you in the regs exactly where it says your situation is disallowed.
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