Family Day Homes
Licensed Family Day Homes
Providers that care for 5 or more children in their home (not including their own children or children that reside in the home) are mandated by the Code of Virginia to be licensed. Providers that care for more than four children under the age of 2 (including their own children and children that reside in the home) are also required to be licensed or voluntarily registered. Licensed family day homes are allowed to care for a maximum of 12 children at any given time (not including their own children or children that reside in the home).
If a family day home provider exceeds 16 points based on the ages of children in care, they will need an additional caregiver.
- Birth-15 months: 4 points
- 16-23 months: 3 points
- 2-4 years: 2 points
- 5-9 years: 1 point Over 10 years: 0 points
To become a licensed family day home, you must attend training through the Office of Child Care Licensing, contact your local zoning office, complete an application, submit application fee, pass a background check, and pass a licensing inspection. Learn more about this application process here Licensed family day homes receive two state inspections annually and must renew their license after a period of 1-3 years.
Voluntarily Registered Family Day Homes
Providers that wish to become voluntarily registered family day homes must care for less than 4 children at any given time (not including their own children and children that reside in the home). Voluntarily registration is not available in areas where local ordinances regulate unlicensed providers (Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax). Providers interested in becoming voluntarily registered must submit an application, application fee, results of TB screening, results of criminal history search and child abuse registry search, child abuse search for children in the home aged 14-17, a sworn statement of affirmation for all adults in the home, and a self-assessment of health and safety compliance. The Office of Child Care Health and Safety will conduct a home inspection to assess health and safety compliance. Voluntarily registered family day homes receive a two-year certificate of registration and must receive a new inspection every 2 years to renew. Learn more about this process here.
Unregulated Family Day Homes
An unregulated provider may provide care for up to 4 children in their home (not including their own children or children that reside in the home). Unregulated family day homes that exceed this capacity are operating illegally.
Programs Approved by Local Ordinance
Currently, three localities have the authority to approve certain family day homes and center-based programs by local ordinance. Arlington County approves centers and homes and Alexandria County and Fairfax County approve homes only. Learn more about local ordinance approval here.
Child Care Centers
Child day centers are child day programs offered to two or more children under the age of 13 years in a facility that is not the residence of either the provider or the children in care OR 13 or more children at any location.
Licensed Child Day Center
To obtain a license for a child day program, you must attend training through the Office of Child Care Licensing, pass a background check, submit the following items: functional design plan, application for licensure with application fee, annual operating budget, and report of environmental sanitation inspection, and pass a facility inspection by a state licensing inspector. Licenses must be renewed every 2 years unless the facility receives a conditional or provisional license. Licensed child day centers are inspected twice a year by the state. Learn more about this process here.
Religiously-Exempt Child Day Center
If a religious institution meets certain requirements and operates a child care program, they are exempt from licensure, but must be approved as a religiously-exempt center. Programs must submit a statement of intent, evidence of tax exempt status, results of local health department and fire marshal inspection results, and certification of the following: the center has informed guardians in writing that the center is exempt from licensure and that information is posted on the premises, employees meet required professional qualifications and are in good health required to provide care for children, the center meets staff-child ratio requirements, and the center is aware of and will abide by basic health and safety requirements. This documentation must be submitted annually to renew. Religiously-exempt centers may receive unannounced compliance visits. Learn more about this process and the documents required to be a religiously-exempt center here.
Preschool programs that are operated by private schools and are accredited by a statewide accrediting organization or another accrediting organization recognized by the Board of Education are exempt from licensure. These programs must submit a Documentation for Certification of Preschool Programs with VDOE prior to the beginning of the school year and annually thereafter. Learn more about this process here.