Disclaimer: This article is for an overview and general information, and it shouldn’t be taken as legal advice. For more information, check out the Delaware Department of Education or contact your local Office of Child Care Licensing at 302-739-5487 (Kent and Sussex Counties) or 302-892-5800 (New Castle County)
You want to start a home daycare but don’t know how to?
For all those who said yes, this is the place to be. We’re sharing a complete step-by-step process to start your home daycare in Delaware. And we’re thoroughly covering the most important part – getting a license.
After reading this article, you’ll know what your next step is, and you’ll have all the resources and links to proceed further.
Before you start your home daycare business, here’s a quick list of your major expenses. The final amount varies depending on your situation, but the expenses remain the same.
- Kid’s supplies and toys
Delaware State Requirements
The Office of Child Care Licensing (OCCL) is the regulatory body that manages all licensing and childcare-related affairs in Delaware. OCCL comes under the Delaware Department of Education, and all licensing information can be found on their site.
For any questions or guidance, OCCL should be your first and foremost point of contact.
Delaware offers an orientation session for home daycare providers. This orientation will help you understand the business and licensing requirements and procedures. It’s a must-take session as you’ll get first-hand information in a well-structured way.
- The home daycare owner must be 18 years or older.
- They should have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
- They shouldn’t have any criminal history record.
According to the Delaware Department of Education, there are 2 types of family daycares.
And the difference is only in the number of children you can have and the care-providing place. All the licensing requirements and procedures are the same for both categories.
- Family child care home: You can only provide care in your home to a maximum of 9 kids.
- Large family child care home: You can provide care in your home or in a commercial space to a maximum of 12 children.
All the licensing information mentioned below is taken from the regulation document for family and large family daycare homes. We recommend you go through this complete document thoroughly to understand all the nitty gritty requirements.
The owner, adult household members and substitute will have to get an SBI (state check) and FBI (federal check) done through fingerprinting. You can get your fingerprints done by Delaware State Police.
Suppose the owner, any household member or substitute has lived outside of Delaware for the past 5 years. In that case, they’ll have to get a criminal history check and child abuse and neglect check done from their states of prior residence.
Action Item: To learn more about the procedure and schedule a fingerprinting session, visit the Delaware State Police’s official page.
The licensing applicant and substitute must complete the following training before applying for a license. And make sure to maintain documentation and certificates of everything.
- First-aid and CPR with hands-on practice
- Quality-assured positive behavior support or social-emotional development: 3 hours
- Quality-assured child development: 6 hours
- Prevention and control of infectious diseases
- OCCL’s health and safety training for childcare providers
- Reporting of child abuse and neglect
The family provider and substitute will have to complete 12 clock hours of annual training.
Action Item: To register for training programs, contact your local educational institution.
For a large family daycare, liability insurance is a requirement, and you’ll have to submit proof with your application. For family daycare, there’s no such requirement. However, it’s always a good option to have one.
Mishaps can happen, and your insurance will cover that. If you don’t get one, you’ll have to bear all the financial burden.
Daycare Licensing Application Information for Delaware
To apply for a license, you’ll have to submit the application form for the respective home daycare type along with the required documents to your local Office of Child Care Licensing (OCCL).
You can find the list of documents and the application form in the regulation document.
New Castle County
DOE/Office of Child Care Licensing
3411 Silverside Road
The Concord, Hagley Building
Wilmington, DE 19810
Kent & Sussex Counties
DOE/Office of Child Care Licensing
821 Silver Lake Boulevard
Barratt Building, Suite 103
Dover, DE 19904
There’s no application fee in Delaware. You’ll be given an initial provisional license, which will be valid for 6 months. Before license expiration, a licensing specialist will investigate your home, and if they find full compliance with the rules, you’ll be issued an annual license.
Action Item: Fill out the application form and submit it to the above mentioned addresses with the required documents.
Register the Business With the State of Delaware
Your business type has a massive impact on your finances. So, before registering, consult an attorney to decide your business structure.
You can register your business through the Delaware Division of Corporations. Below is the step-by-step process.
- Choose your business type
- Get a registered agent
- Fill out the form
- Apply online by uploading your application on Delaware’s “Document Upload Service”.
For more information, visit the Delaware Division of Corporations’s official page for business registration.
Pre and post-licensing inspections
Before applying for a license, you’ll have to get a few inspections done, which include a fire marshal inspection, lead-risk assessments and radon testing.
After applying for the license, a licensing specialist will inspect your house. If they find everything in compliance with the regulations, they’ll issue you the initial provisional license.
You’ll receive another visit before your initial provisional license expires. If they find you compliant, you’ll be issued an annual permit.
If OCCL receives any complaint regarding your home daycare, they’ll arrange an inspection to investigate the matter.
The Subsidies Provided to Daycare Businesses
The Delaware Department of Education offers 2 subsidies to providers.
- The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP): This subsidy is to help providers offer nutritious meals and snacks to kids.
- Capacity grant: Delaware provides funding to licensed childcare programs to expand their facility in the areas where it’s most needed.
For more information, visit the official page for grants and subsidies.
- Have a first aid kit at an accessible place.
- Display your license in a visible place.
- Have a working phone in the childcare area.
- Paste all the emergency numbers in the facility.
- Medicines, lighters, cleaning products, chemicals or any other hazardous material should be inaccessible to kids.
Family Child Care Home
- Have at least 25 square feet of space per kid. Don’t measure the area that’s covered by furniture.
Large Family Child Care Home Indoor
- You must have a minimum of 35 square feet of space for each kid, excluding the space occupied by furniture.
- The outdoor space should offer at least 50 square feet of space to each kid.
- If there’s any danger in the outdoor play area, you’ll need to install a fence. The dangers can be any water body, traffic or slopes.
- The fence should be at least 4 feet tall, and the gaps shouldn’t be more than 3.5 inches.
- The fence shouldn’t be climbable by children, and staff members should be able to watch kids through the fence.
Once you’ve got your license and set up daycare, you can start promoting it. There are multiple channels and techniques for daycare marketing, but the following are the most important ones.
- List your daycares on search portals, like Delaware’s search for licensed child care and Google My Business.
- Distribute pamphlets.
- Be a part of groups where parents hang out.
- Have some social media presence.
Staff and Training Requirements
You might need to hire staff for your home daycare. There are some requirements for staff members as well.
- Your staff and volunteers will have to get all the training and background checks done before they can start providing care.
- The staff member should be at least 18 years old with no criminal history.
We hope we answered your question about how to start a home daycare in Nebraska. The biggest part of your daycare starting process will be getting a license. And it’ll also cover many other aspects, like daycare policies and setup.
Instead of stressing over any queries or confusion, we highly encourage you to contact the OCCL. They’ll guide you the best.