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Getting Regulated


In the state of Virginia, there are a number of ways in which child care programs can be regulated:

Licensed Child Care Centers – Licensed child care centers offer programs to 13 or more children under the age of 13 years in a facility which is not the residence of the provider or any children in care. Care is offered for less than a 24-hour period.

Licensed Family Day Homes – Licensed family day home providers care for one to 12 children (excluding their own children) under the age of 13 years in a residential setting. Space and local codes factor into the number of children who can be served, determined by a licensing specialist. Licensed programs must meet standards as set by the Virginia Department of Social Services and enforced by the Division of Licensing.

Religiously Exempt Child Day Centers – Religiously exempt centers are operated by religious institutions and do not have to meet the same regulations as licensed centers.These facilities must annually submit the following documents to the Virginia Department of Social Services: statement of intent, tax exempt verification, health and fire reports, staff/child ratio, staff health reports, and verification of other health and safety requirements in the Code of Virginia.

Voluntary Registration – Voluntary Registration is a form of regulation offered to family day home providers who care for no more than five child care children. The provider must pay a fee of $50 for a two year registration.Voluntary registered providers must have a criminal history background check, a child abuse registry clearance, a TB test, and complete a Health and Safety Checklist. An initial home visit is made by a contracting agency and random monitoring and response to complaints is made.

Certified Preschools – Certified preschools offer partial-day programs for children 2 to 5 years of age. To be exempt from licensure, the preschool must be run by a private school that has been accredited by a statewide accrediting organization.The following information must be filed with Virginia Department of Social Services: verification of accreditation, statement of intent, verification of criminal records check, staff qualifications, and health and fire inspections.

State regulations at a glance