Licensed Child Day Center

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. To obtain a license for a child day program, you must attend training through the Office of Health and Safety, pass a Criminal and Child Protective Services 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. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) enforces these standards by inspecting licensed child day centers at least twice a year and investigating complaints.

Steps for Getting Started:

  1. Review the following information: Welcome Letter, Regulations for General Procedures and Standards for Licensed Child Day Centers, and Background Checks for child day programs.
  2. Schedule Pre-Licensure Orientation- Phase 2 for Licensed Child Day Centers through your local Office of Child Care Health and Safety
  3. When you have identified your location, create and submit a functional design plan to the licensing office in your region.
  4. Complete an initial application for licensure, upload the application and all required attachments through the online portal. Refer to this quick reference guide for step-by-step instructions on using the online portal. If you are unable to access the online portal or encounter difficulties using the online portal, please contact the Office of Child Care Health and Safety in your region. Application must be submitted at least 60 days prior to your opening date. The following documents are required to be submitted with your application:
    • Annual operating budget
    • Certificate of use and occupancy
    • Fire inspection completed within the last 12 months
    • Report of Environmental Sanitation Inspection completed within the last 12 months
    • Floor plans (indicating the exact dimensions of the rooms to be used, including length and width; functions of each room; toileting facilities, including the number of basins and toilets; and position of any fixed equipment and furniture) 
    • Site plan or sketch (indicating the outdoor play areas, including dimensions; locations of the building on the site; adjacent streets and parking areas; all fences; fixed equipment and secondary buildings or structures) 
    • Asbestos statement from an asbestos inspector, and a management plan if asbestos was detected (for buildings built before 1978) 
    • Asbestos statement from the applicant, if asbestos was detected
    • Written confirmation of program director qualifications
    • Written documentation of the center’s chain of command or organizational chart
    • A copy of all forms to be used by the center, if different than model forms provided by the department
    • Sample current daily activity schedule for each age group
    • List of indoor and outdoor play equipment available to children
    • Sample current monthly menu
    • Copy of all policies and procedures
    • Copy of any brochures
    • Evidence of the required insurance coverage
    • Three letters of reference for all individuals listed in the business entity section of the application (reference letters must not be dated more than 12 months prior to the date of the application from three persons not related to the individual by blood or marriage who have known the individual for at least one month and can attest to his/her character and reputation) – This is not required for public agencies
    • Background checks for all individuals listed in the business entity section of the application (completed within the last 90 days) 
    • A credit reference for the business entity – This is not required for public agencies
    • Documentation of completed Phase II Pre-Licensure Orientation
    • Documentation of a fictitious name from the Virginia State Corporation Commission (VSCC) if the center will operate under a name other than that of the business entity
    • If applicable, business entity paperwork such as partnership agreements, association bylaws, or certificates and articles of formation from the VSCC
  5. After your application has been received, a licensing inspector will contact you to schedule an inspection.

To ensure timely processing, the applicant must submit a complete application to the Office of Child Care Health and Safety at least 60 days prior to the facility’s planned opening date.

Visit the VDOE website for more information about this process here.

VDOE Training and Professional Development Resources