This post is a part of our series on Washington DC family child care licensing. For more on licensing in Washington DC, see the following posts: 

Washington DC Family Child Care Licensing: An Overview
The Licensing Process
Eligibility
Training Requirements
Home Requirements

As you start your in-home child care program in Washington DC, you will have the option to choose between two types of programs: a Child Development Home or an Expanded Child Development Home.

In both cases, you provide child development from your private residence, where you live and work.

Child Development Home

A Child Development Home may be licensed to provide care for up to 6 children. The 6 children don’t include those of the caregiver who are 6 years or older; provided, that the total number of children of the caregiver between the ages of 6 and 15 years shall not exceed 3, and of those 3 children, no more than 2 shall be age 10 years or younger.

The restrictions on the number of children that may be cared for in a child development home shall also include care given to a child by a caregiver related to the child. The term “related” means any of the following relationships by marriage, blood, or adoption: grandparent, parent, brother, sister, step-sister, step-brother, uncle, or aunt.

Expanded Child Development Home

In an Expanded Child Development Home, child care is provided by two or more caregivers for up to 12 children.

An Expanded Home may provide care for more than 2 children who are non-ambulatory or under 2 years of age, provided that the number of such children does not exceed the following:

  • 4 children, if there are 2 or more caregivers present; or
  • 6 children, if there are 3 or more caregivers present.

Expanded Homes shall comply with all of the requirements of Child Development Homes with the following additional requirements:

  • Each Expanded Home shall have at least 2 Caregivers, in compliance with adult-to-child ratios; and
  • Each Expanded Home shall provide a minimum of thirty-five square feet (35 ft²) of unencumbered program space per child.

Capacity of Child Development Home and Expanded Home

License capacity is the maximum number of children the Licensee is licensed to care for at any given time, as determined by OSSE. OSSE shall determine limitations on the license capacity based on the following criteria:

  • Occupancy capacity established by DCRA or by FEMS;
  • Program space requirements
  • Lavatory requirements
  • Adult-to-child ratios and maximum group size requirements

Program Space

  • Child Development Homes and Expanded Homes shall obtain approval from OSSE for the use of all program space, and may only offer child care in approved space.
  • The Caregiver(s) of a Child Development Home or Expanded Home shall arrange the play space and the furniture in the approved program space within the Child Development Home or Expanded Home to allow adequate room for active and quiet play and for individual and group activities.
  • Program space does not include:
    • Food preparation areas within the kitchen;
    • Bathrooms;
    • Hallways;
    • Stairways
    • Closets;
    • Laundry rooms or areas;
    • Furnace rooms;
    • Storage spaces.
  • Child Development Homes and Expanded Homes shall provide a sufficient amount, as determined by OSSE, of developmentally appropriate toys, games, equipment, books, and other materials to meet the needs of enrolled children at the facility.
  • Outdoor Space: Child Development Homes and Expanded Homes serving infants, toddlers, or preschoolers shall provide suitable age-appropriate outdoor place space. This play space shall be at:
    • An enclosed yard on the facility premises;
    • A nearby park or playground; or
    • A rooftop play space that meets the rooftop requirements.
  • Outdoor Space: Child Development Homes and Expanded Homes shall provide a minimum of sixty square feet (60 ft²) of outdoor play space per child, based on the maximum number of children scheduled to play outdoors at any one time.
  • Indoor space: A Licensee shall, at all times, maintain adequate indoor space for the daily program measured on the inside wall-to-wall dimensions, as follows:
    • A minimum of 45 square feet of program space per infant;
    • A minimum of 35 square feet of unencumbered program space per toddler and child; or
    • A minimum of 45 square feet of encumbered program space per child.

Lavatory Requirements Per-child: A Licensee caring for preschoolers shall provide at least one flush toilet and one sink for every ten children, based on the license capacity of the facility.

Adult-to-child ratios and group size: Adult-to-child ratios and group sizes are established to ensure the health and safety of all children. Minimum adult-to-child ratios shall be met at all times, including non-peak hours, during nap or rest periods, and in vehicles during transport.

Child development homes and expanded homes serving infants, toddlers, and/or preschoolers, and providing out-of-school-time care to school-age children shall maintain the adult-to-child ratios and group sizes as specified herein:

Age of Children Adult-To-Child Ratio Maximum Number of Children Enrolled
1 child under 2 years of age and 1 to 11 children over 2 years of age 1:6 12
2 children under 2 years of age and 1 to 4 children over 2 years of age 1:6 6
3 children under 2 years of age and 1 to 6 children over 2 years of age 1:3 (but at least 2 caregivers) 9
4 children under 2 years of age and 1 to 8 children over 2 years of age 1:3 (but at least 2 caregivers) 12
5 children under 2 years of age and 1 to 4 children over 2 years of age 3 caregivers 9
6 children under 2 years of age and 1 to 3 children over 2 years of age 3 caregivers 9

Generally, when children of different ages are combined in one group, the adult-to-child ratio for the youngest child shall apply. A child who is non-ambulatory will be treated the same as a child under 2 years of age for purposes of the adult-to-child ratio requirements. Volunteers shall not be used to meet adult-to-child ratio requirements. Only employees responsible for directly providing care of, or supervision or guidance to, children shall be counted in the adult-to-child ratios.

Swimming and Water Play: A Licensee shall ensure when children are swimming or playing in the water, including baby pools, wading pools, and full-depth pools, the Licensee shall maintain the following adult-to-child ratios, in addition to complying with the water safety requirements:

Age of Children Adult-To-Child Ratio
0 – 26 months 1:1
3 – 4 years 1:4
5 – 6 years 1:6
7 – 10 years 1:6
11 years and older 1:6

Source: Final Rulemaking for the Licensing of Child Development Facilities

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