Why we need this Checklist for Childcare Licensing
But I get it. It’s their job.
Again, I cannot stress it enough that you will need to make sure that you cover/address everything that your licensing agency requires for your state, city or province.
Full disclosure: I live and have my business in the state of California, so quite a bit of the information contained in this post will be based on regulations and rules for the state of California. But again, there is a process that I followed that can be adopted for just about every state.
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Let’s Be Ready for Licensing
Here was my process; the first thing I did was I went to the licensing website for my state of California. Under the heading of forms, I was able to do a search. I was specifically looking for anything related to licensing preparation and requirements, whether it be prelicensing or related to a facility visit.
As long as it related to Family Child Care Homes it had potential. My plan is to use that type of information as a guide in creating a checklist.
Even if you are in another state, you should be able to find this type of information on your licensing agency’s website.
I was in luck! I was able to find two documents;
- Facility Visit Checklist (this form seemed to be for an analyst to complete during an inspection)
- Pre-Licensing Readiness Guide (a self-check guide for potential providers)
This was perfect!
Notice that the first form I found was for the analyst to complete during an inspection.
Great! Insider information!
The second form was actually a checklist that potential providers are supposed to use to prepare for their licensing visit. Useful, but probably needed to be picked through since my checklist was for licensed providers.
I also used this How to Start a Childcare book and I pulled from my past experience with licensing visits for additional insight.
Pulling it Together
Now that I had compiled some basic standards, my plan was to take all of this information and break it down to ultimately create our checklist. The checklist will help us stay on top of all the areas that could come up for evaluation during a licensing visit.
At this point, I should say that the purpose of this post is to aid the provider in maintaining a compliant environment based on licensing standards. Since we live and work in our businesses, it can be challenging ensuring that everything remains completely compliant at all times.
The information contained in this post also assumes that the provider has already gone through the initial inspection process and is currently a licensed provider. Therefore, this guide is not meant to completely address all of the areas of concern that would have been addressed during the initial licensing inspection. Checklist for Childcare Licensing
Areas of Concern Checklist for Childcare Licensing
Pulling from all the above sources I was able to discern the following areas of concern:
The companion checklist expands and details each area of concern. Checklist for Childcare Licensing
First up is Safety. It’s probably a no-brainer that a licensing visit will involve some sort of inspection centering around safety. How much or how little might be subjective to the analyst and/or licensing agency, but most likely some or all of the following could be included:
- Fire extinguisher* – accessible, charged and operable
- Smoke detectors* (w/carbon monoxide) – the appropriate number of units, operable with charged batteries
- Electrical plug covers
- Safety locks*
- First Aid Kit*
- Emergency Backpacks*
- Inside Areas – (Kitchen, Bathroom & General Living Spaces)
- Outside Area
- Overall cleanliness
- Telephone – working landline
- No walkers, bouncers, jumpers in care
Now let’s look at Certification. Here we are talking about everything from a current license, CPR/First Aid, fire clearance and insurance. Review the following that they are current and valid:
- Childcare license
- CPR/First Aid Certification
- Fire Clearance
- Insurance (if applicable)
Enrollment Checklist for Childcare Licensing
Enrollment refers to compliance with mandated adult: child ratios, license capacity, etc. Check to make sure you have the correct amount of supervision and are within the specifics of your licensed capacity each day you are operating.
Documentation Checklist for Childcare Licensing
Lastly, we are looking at Documentation. This could include the following:
- Child File Forms
- Facility File Forms
Make sure that each of these files or documents are up-to-date with current information and is accessible. Checklist for Childcare Licensing
Here’s the Checklist
Finally, we have our checklist! Now before you hop over and check it out, let’s all remember somethings might be applicable for you and somethings may not. Let’s agree to move on past the items that we don’t need and on to the ones we do.
For example walkers, bouncers or jumpers. The list says these items are to be removed and not used in care. However, if that is not a mandate according to your licensing agency, just ignore that item.
Similarly, if you find you have additional requirements that are not included in the checklist, I have left space where you can insert those items under “OTHER”.
There will most likely be updates to this post in the future. So I will give you a heads up when that happens. This a FREE CHECKLIST so just click below to get it!
How to use the Checklist for Childcare Licensing
You can use this checklist however it best suits your needs. Whether that is to perform routine, weekly or monthly self-checks. The important thing is to schedule and perform the checks regularly as needed. Whatever keeps you on top of things.
Since there are 4 main areas of concern, ideally you could take one area each week of the month and perform just those checklist items. Of course, if you have let things go for a while (not judging) you might want to take one area a day and get things back in order fast.
It is probably not necessary to run through the whole checklist every time. Maybe making the Safety checks on a weekly basis and the other areas on a monthly basis would be a good practice. That way it becomes a routine, without being overkill (or worse, overlooked).