North Carolina North Carolina

Licensing Standards for DayCare Centers



(a) Anyone who wishes to obtain a license to operate a child care center shall first request pre-licensing consultation from the Division.

(b) Upon receiving a request, a representative of the Division shall schedule a visit with the person requesting consultation, unless the person requesting consultation meets the criteria described in Rule .0302(g) of this Section. The Division shall furnish the forms required to be completed and submitted in order to apply for a license.

(c) The Division shall provide regularly scheduled licensing workshops for new and existing child care centers. A schedule of these workshops may be obtained from the Division at the address given in Rule .0102 of this Subchapter.

History Note: Authority G.S. 110-88(1); 110-88(5); 143B-168.3;

Eff. January 1, 1986; Amended Eff. July 1, 1998.


(a) The individual who will be legally responsible for the operation of the center, which includes assuring compliance with the licensing law and standards, shall apply for a license using the form provided by the Division. If the operator will be a group, organization, or other entity, an officer of the entity who is legally empowered to bind the operator shall complete and sign the application.

(b) The applicant shall arrange for inspections of the center by the local health, building and fire inspectors. The applicant shall provide an approved inspection report signed by the appropriate inspector to the Division representative.

(1) A provisional classification may be accepted in accordance with Rule .0401(1) of this Subchapter.

(2) When a center does not conform with a specific building, fire, or sanitation standard, the appropriate inspector may submit a written explanation of how equivalent, alternative protection is provided. The Division may accept the inspector's documentation in lieu of compliance with the specific standard. Nothing in this Regulation is to preclude or interfere with issuance of a provisional license pursuant to Section .0400 of this Subchapter.

(c) The applicant, or the person responsible for the day-to-day operation of the center, shall be able to describe the plans for the daily program, including room arrangement, staffing patterns, equipment, and supplies, in sufficient detail to show that the center will comply with applicable requirements for activities, equipment, and staff/child ratios for the capacity of the center and type of license requested. The applicant shall make the following written information available to the Division for review to verify compliance with provisions of this Subchapter and the licensing law:

(1) daily schedules,

(2) activity plans,

(3) emergency care plan,

(4) discipline policy,

(5) incident reports,

(6) incident logs,

(7) a copy of the certified criminal history check for the applicant, or the applicant's designee as defined in Rule .2701(g) of this Subchapter, from the Clerk of Superior Court's office in the county or counties where the individual has resided during the previous 12 months.

(d) The applicant shall, at a minimum, demonstrate to the Division representative that measures will be implemented to have the following information in the center's files and readily available to the representative for review:

(1) Staff records which include an application for employment and date of birth; documentation of previous education, training, and experience; medical and health records; documentation of participation in training and staff development activities; and required criminal records check documentation;

(2) Children's records which include an application for enrollment; medical and immunization records; and permission to seek emergency medical care;

(3) Daily attendance records;

(4) Records of monthly fire drills giving the date each drill is held, the time of day, the length of time taken to evacuate the building, and the signature of the person that conducted the drill;

(5) Records of monthly playground inspections documented on a checklist provided by the Division; and

(6) Records of medication administered.

(e) The Division representative shall measure all rooms to be used for child care and shall assure that an accurate sketch of the center's floor plan is part of the application packet. The Division representative shall enter the dimensions of each room to be used for child care, including ceiling height, and shall show the location of the bathrooms, doors, and required exits on the floor plan.

(f) The Division representative shall make one or more inspections of the center and premises to assess compliance with all applicable standards.

(1) If the center is in compliance, the Division shall issue the license.

(2) If the center does not comply, the representative may recommend issuance of a provisional license in accordance with Section .0400 of this Subchapter or the representative may recommend denial of the application. Final disposition of the recommendation to deny is the decision of the Division.

(3) The license shall be displayed in an area that parents are able to view daily.

(g) If a person applies for a child care facility license after any child care facility license held by that person has been revoked or summarily suspended by the Division within the previous 12 months, or during the appeal if a person appeals the Division's revocation or summary suspension, the Division may deny the application for another license based on the compliance history of the person applying for a license.

History Note: Statutory Authority G.S. 110-88(2); 110-88(5); 110-91; 110-92; 110-93; 110-99; 143B-168.3;

Eff. January 1, 1986; Amended Eff. July 1, 1998; January 1, 1996; November 1, 1989; July 1, 1988; January 1, 1987.


History Note: Authority G.S. 110-88(5); 110-93; 143B-168.3; 150B-3;

Eff. January 1, 1986; Amended Eff. October 1, 1991; August 1, 1990; July 1, 1988; January 1, 1987; Repealed Eff. July 1, 1998.


(a) Each operator shall schedule a fire inspection within 12 months of the center's previous fire inspection. The operator is responsible for notifying the local fire inspector when it is time for the center's annual fire inspection. The operator shall submit the original of the completed annual fire inspection report to the Division's representative within one week of the inspection visit on the form provided by the Division.

(b) Each center shall be inspected at least annually for compliance with appropriate sanitation requirements adopted by the Health Services Commission as described in 15A NCAC 18A .2800.

(c) A new building inspection shall not be required unless the operator plans to begin using space not previously approved for child care, has made renovations to the building, has added new construction, or wants to remove any restriction related to building codes currently on the license.

(d) When the Division's representative documents noncompliance during a visit, the representative may:

(1) Advise the operator to submit written verification that the noncompliance has been corrected;

(2) Return to the center for an unannounced visit at a later date to determine if compliance has been achieved; or

(3) Recommend issuance of a provisional license in accordance with Section .0400 of this Subchapter or recommend the revocation of the license or administrative actions in accordance with Section .2000 of this Subchapter.

History Note: Authority G.S. 110-88(5); 110-93; 143B-168.3; 150B-3;

Eff. July 1, 1998.


(a) Prior to the issuance of an initial one-star rating, a center shall comply with all minimum requirements in G.S. 110-91 and this subchapter at the time the program is assessed.

(b) To maintain a one-star rated license, a program shall have a compliance history of 60% or higher as assessed by the Division.

(c) The Division shall assess the compliance history of a center by evaluating the violations of requirements that have occurred over the previous three years or during the length of time the center has been operating, whichever is less. Demerits shall be assigned for each occurrence of violations of these requirements: supervision of children(6 points), staff/child ratio(6 points), staff qualifications and training(2-5 points), health and safety practices(3-6 points), discipline(6 points), developmentally appropriate activities(2-4 points), adequate space(6 points), nutrition and feeding practices(1-3 points), program records(1-3 points), sanitation inspections(6 points), and transportation(1-3 points), if applicable. The point value of each demerit shall be based on the potential detriment to the health and safety of children. A compliance history percentage shall be calculated each year by subtracting the total number of demerits from the total demerits possible and converting to a percentage. The yearly compliance history percentage shall be averaged over three years for the compliance history percentage referenced in this Rule. A copy of the Division compliance history score sheet used to calculate the compliance history percentage is available for review at the address given in Rule .0102 of this Section.

(d) A one-star rated license shall be issued to a child care center that complies with the requirements described in this Rule.

(e) An "A" or "AA" license remains valid until action is taken to change to a license with a star rating.

(f) Nothing in this Section is to preclude or interfere with issuance of an administrative action as allowed by G.S. 110 and this Subchapter.

History Note: Authority G.S. 110-90; 110-91; 143B-168.3;

Eff. April 1, 1999

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