One of the first steps in becoming an in-home child care provider is applying for a license to operate your family child care within your state.
Overview of the licensing process in New York State
- Complete Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) online orientation.
- At any time, you can contact the OCFS regional office staff for help. Establishing an open relationship with your licensor can help you save money, time and get your program off to a great start.
- Complete application documentation, external inspections, and approvals. This includes completing forms, understanding the requirements of regulations and may include third party inspections of the potential child care site. The types of inspections needed depend on the type of program you want to open, and where the program will be located. More information is included in the application book, and from OCFS regional office staff.
- Submit complete application package to OCFS for review
- OCFS fire/safety & licensor inspections: An OCFS representative will complete an inspection. Who does the inspection depends on the type of program you want to open, and where the program will be located.
- License decision: If approved, OCFS will mail a license or registration to you.
- Open your program.
Family child care licensing in New York: How to apply
Step 1: Complete the OCFS Online Child Day Care Orientation, which is also available at many child care resource and referral agencies across the state. Orientation will help you understand the different types of child care programs and requirements of those programs.
Step 2: Request an application through the link at the end of orientation.
Step 3: As an applicant, you then must submit the following documents to the OCFS:
- A complete application, including required attestations, on forms provided by the OCFS. The application and attestations must include an agreement by the applicant to operate the family day care home, as family child cares are called in New York, in conformity with applicable laws and regulations.
- Medical Statements completed within the 12 months preceding the date of application. More details below.
- Of the provider, assistant(s), and substitute(s) providers
- Of all persons residing in the family day care home
- A summary of the training and experience of the provider and assistant(s)
- References: the names, addresses, and daytime telephone numbers of at least three acceptable references each for the provider, assistant(s), and any substitute(s)
- Sworn statements by the provider, assistant(s), substitutes and any person 18 years of age or older who resides in the proposed family child care home indicating whether, to the best of their knowledge, they have ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony in New York State or any other jurisdiction, and fingerprint images as required.
- Certifications on forms provided by OCFS:
- Status of the individual applicant’s child support obligations on payments
- Certification that the applicant is in compliance with workers compensation requirements of New York State law.
- Background Checks. More details below.
- Child abuse or maltreatment check: The Statewide Central Register Database Check forms necessary to complete required screening by the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment to determine if the provider, assistant(s), substitute(s), and any person 18 years of age or older who resides in the proposed family day care home is the subject of an indicated report of child abuse or maltreatment.
- Cases of Abuse of Neglect Check: the forms necessary to check the register of substantiated category one cases of abuse or neglect maintained by the Justice Center for the Persons with Special Needs.
- Private Water Supply Quality Report: where a registrant uses a private water supply:
- A report from a state licensed laboratory or individual, based on tests performed within the 12 months preceding the date of application, showing that the water meets standards for drinking water established by the New York State Department of Health or
- If the water does not meet such standards, a description of how water for all purposes will be provided by another method acceptable to the Department of Health.
- Fuel Burning Systems Inspection Report: a report of inspection performed within the 12 months preceding the date of application, by local authorities or an inspector qualified to approve fuel burning systems which documents approval of any wood or coal burning stove, fireplace, pellet stoves or permanently installed gas space heater in use at the home;
- Dwelling, Property, and Premises Quality Certification:
- A certification, on forms provided by the OCFS, that the dwelling, its property and premises, and the surrounding neighborhood and environment are free from environmental hazards.
- In case there is an indication that a hazard may be present, inspection or testing must be completed by the appropriate local office or authority to determine if such hazard exists. Documentation of the inspection or testing must be appended to the statement from the appropriate local authority confirming that the dwelling and surrounding neighborhood meet application standards for sanitation and safety.
- Such hazards include but are not limited to, dry cleaners, gas stations, nuclear laboratories or power plants, property designated as a federal superfund cleanup site, and any property with known contaminated ground or water supplies
- Sanitation and Safety Confirmation Statement: a statement from the appropriate local office or authority that the dwelling meets standards for sanitation and safety if required by the OCFS.
- Requirement to meet the definition of personal residence: The registrant must submit documentation, acceptable to the OCFS, to prove that the family day care site is being used as a residence and meets the definition and requirements of a personal residence.
- Health and Infection Control plan
Applicants for a registration must submit all the documentation within 90 days after the submission of the first piece of such documentation to the Office. An applicant who fails to submit all documentation within the 90 days will be deemed to have withdrawn such application.
Applicants for a registration may not be issued a registration until an inspection of the family day care home has been conducted showing compliance with the requirements of this Part and the relevant provisions of the Social Services Law.
More on medical statements and background checks
- You’ll need to submit a satisfactory medical statement on forms furnished by the Office or an approved equivalent from a health care provider as a part of your license application.
- You’ll need another medical statement if an event or condition reasonably calls into question your ability to provide safe and suitable child care.
- You’ll submit your initial medical statement along with your application. If you hire someone new, their medical statement must be dated within 12 months preceding the date of application or hiring date.
- The medical statement must give satisfactory evidence that you’re physically fit to provide child care and have no diagnosed psychiatric or emotional disorder which would prevent you from providing child care.
- All providers, assistants, substitutes and household members must be free from communicable disease unless his or her healthcare provider has indicated that the presence of the communicable disease doesn’t pose a risk to the health and safety of the children in care.
- Your initial medical statement for providers, assistants, and substitutes must include the results of a Mantoux tuberculin test or other federally approved tuberculin test performed within the 12 months preceding the date of the application. After that, tuberculin tests are only required at the discretion of the employee’s healthcare provider or at the start of new employment in a different child care program.
- You must keep a medical statement on file, on forms furnished by the Office or approved equivalents, from a healthcare provider for each person residing in the home.
- Consumption of, or being under the influence of alcohol or any illegal drug by any caregiver, volunteer, or employee is prohibited during child care hours.
- Consumption of or being under the influences of a controlled substance by any caregiver, volunteer or employee is prohibited during daycare hours, unless the controlled substance is prescribed by a health care provider is being taken as directed, and does not interfere with the person’s ability to perform his or her child day care functions.
- Smoking in indoor or outdoor areas in use by children and in vehicles when children are occupying the vehicles is prohibited.
- All caregivers must have knowledge of and access to children’s medical records and all emergency information.
Source: New York State Child Day Care Regulations Part 417 Family Day Care Homes (page 18-19)
Background checks are important part of opening a childcare program or hiring a staff for your program. All caregivers must be fully approved to be left unsupervised with the children. All potential staff including licensee will need to:
- Complete the fingerprinting process by an authorized vendor
- Complete a sworn statement indicating whether or not the person has, to the best of his or her knowledge, been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in New York State or any other Jurisdiction.
All caregivers are required to complete a State Central Register database check.
- All caregivers and volunteers hired after June 30, 2013 must comply with the background check requirements for the register of substantiated category one cases of abuse or neglect maintained by the Justice Center for the Protection of Persons with Special Needs pursuant to Section 495 of the Social Services Law.
- A person applying to be the provider must have completed the required health and safety training before being approved for that role.
- A person is not approved to be a caregiver until the child care program receives written approval from the Office.
- There may be costs associated with these requirements, so be sure to include them in your budget.
Source: New York State Child Day Care Regulations Part 417 Family Day Care Homes (page 34)
Source: (Part 413) Child Day Care Definitions, Enforcement & Hearings (page 16-18)
Starting your own in-home child care program? This post is a part of our New York State series on family child care licensing. More on licensing in New York: