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How to Start a Daycare in Alaska

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Daycare Staff

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Starting a daycare in Alaska demands thoughtful consideration of the distinct challenges and prospects posed by the state’s expansive and varied terrain.

Commence the journey by conducting a thorough exploration of state daycare and childcare licensing requirements and regulations to ensure unwavering compliance. Given Alaska’s remote locales and the unpredictable nature of its weather, crafting a robust emergency preparedness plan becomes imperative, addressing the specific challenges inherent in the region. Creating a warm and inclusive environment that mirrors the rich cultural tapestry of Alaska’s communities is paramount for cultivating a welcoming atmosphere for both children and their families.

Moreover, forging strong connections with local communities and discerning their needs becomes pivotal for tailoring daycare services to meet the unique demands of Alaskan families. Whether situated in bustling urban centers or more remote rural areas, embracing the virtues of resilience and adaptability stands as the cornerstone for effectively navigating the enriching journey of initiating and managing a daycare in the great state of Alaska.

In this endeavor, whether you opt for in-home childcare or oversee a sizable preschool and daycare facility, integrating cutting-edge tools such as SimplySafeChild’s childcare management software can prove instrumental. This software adeptly handles alerts, payments, and automation, streamlining your daycare’s management processes and concurrently diminishing the necessity for additional staff. By doing so, it facilitates a smoother operation, making the management of your daycare more efficient, irrespective of its size.

As always, use Daycare.com as a resource for any and all of your daycare needs.

daycare in Alaska

Who must get a child care license?

In general, anyone caring for more than four non-related children

  • Some types of facilities are exempt from licensure

Who regulates licensing?

The Alaska Child Care Program Office is part of the Division of Public Assistance. They make sure that child care facilities meet State and Federal Laws and Regulations.

Who is accountable?

The Owner/Administrator and Staff of the child care facility are responsible for understanding and complying with State child care licensing regulations.

What is a Licensed Child Care Facility?

A State approved safe place where children are supervised, educated, and shown positive interactions in a healthy environment.

A Licensed Child Care Facility is:

  • a facility that is safe for children
  • a facility where children can grow and learn
  • a facility where educated and trained adults of good character supervise children at all times
  • a facility with a program that promotes quality of care
  • a facility that promotes positive interactions with children and parents

Benefits of Licensing

Why be licensed?

  • Professional recognition by clients and community licensed providers are viewed favorably by families
  • Care for more children – increase your capacity and grow your business
  • Professional development support: thread is a statewide network of professionals who work with child care providers to help them learn the best practices in early childhood education.
  • Qualify for subsidized support programs like Child Care Assistance, Child Care Grant, and the Child Care Food Program

Do I need a childcare license in Alaska?

The licensing of childcare in Alaska is overseen by the Child Care Program Office (CCPO) within the Alaska Department of Health, Division of Public Assistance. As per the department’s regulations, obtaining a childcare license is mandatory if you are offering care for more than four non-related children.

Nevertheless, there are specific exemptions from the licensing prerequisites. The ensuing facilities and childcare program arrangements are not subject to the compulsory licensure requirements:

  • Facilities that regularly provide child care while the parent is on the premises and reasonably close to the child
  • Facilities located on a US Department of Defense federal property
  • US Department of Defense or the US Coast Guard certified childcare facilities
  • Recreational programs that don’t assume responsibility for child care
  • Programs whose main function is educational and certified as pre-elementary schools
  • Facilities caring for less than four non-related children
  • Temporary facilities that care for a specific one-time event, like a conference or weekend seminar

Types of Licenses

What are the 3 kinds of Licensed Child Care Facilities?

  • Child Care Home
  • Child Care Group Home
  • Child Care Center

What is the difference?

  • Child Care Home
    • Licensed to provide care for up to eight children in the providers’ home
  • Child Care Group Home
    • Licensed to provide care for nine to 12 children in the providers’ home
  • Child Care Center
    • Licensed to provide care for 13 or more children

Prior to launching a daycare venture, it is essential to acquaint yourself with the childcare licensing requisites in Alaska. Whether establishing a center-based program or commencing a home-based preschool, adherence to specific regulations is imperative to legally offer childcare services.

Child care homes

A child care home must be run by an administrator at least 21 years old. The administrator must:

  • Have one year of experience managing a child care home; or
  • Have twelve semester hours of college credit in early childhood development, child development, child psychology, or the equivalent; or
  • Hold a current Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or Montessori Certificate; or
  • Have a bachelor’s degree in early child development, child development, child psychology, or the equivalent.
  • Participate in continuing education by obtaining at least three semester hours of college credit in courses relevant to child care and development every two years. This requirement applies to administrators without a bachelor’s degree.

Caregiver-to-child ratio

  • A child care home must have at least one caregiver/administrator caring for no more than eight children.

Child care group homes

An administrator and a caregiver must manage a child care group home. An administrator must be at least 21 years old, while a caregiver must be at least 18 years old. The administrator must:

  • Have one year of experience managing a child care home; or
  • Twelve semester hours of college credit in early childhood development, child development, child psychology, or the equivalent; or
  • Hold a current Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or Montessori Certificate; or
  • Have a bachelor’s degree in early child development, child development, child psychology, or the equivalent.
  • Participate in continuing education by obtaining at least three semester hours of college credit in courses relevant to child care and development every two years. This requirement applies to administrators without a bachelor’s degree.

A caregiver must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Complete a child care training course or demonstrate competency in child care.

Child-to-caregiver ratio

A child care group home must have at least two caregivers. One caregiver must be the administrator and should care for no more than 12 children.

daycare in Alaska

Child care centers

A child care center must have an administrator and a child care associate. The administrator and child care associate must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have one year of experience managing a child care home; or
  • Twelve semester hours of college credit in early childhood development, child development, child psychology, or the equivalent; or
  • Hold a current Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or Montessori Certificate; or
  • Have a bachelor’s degree in early child development, child development, child psychology, or the equivalent.
  • Participate in continuing education by obtaining at least three semester hours of college credit in courses relevant to child care and development every two years. This requirement applies to administrators without a bachelor’s degree.

Caregiver-to-child ratios

  • Infant: 1:5
  • Toddler: 1:6
  • Preschooler: 1:10
  • Kindergartener: 1:14
  • School-age: 1:18

What other differences are there between Homes, Group Homes and Centers? (click for regulation)

The Licensing Process

Consideration

  • Will I have enough employees who can pass a background check?
  • Are the Administrators and Caregivers qualified?
  • Will they need more training?
  • Will I have an approve location (permits and regulations) with enough safe indoor and outdoor play space?
  • Do I have the appropriate Business License(s) for my location?
  • Will I have enough supplies, toys, furniture and learning materials for the children?

Are there potential costs to becoming licensed?

  • Permits and licenses
  • Fire safety review and inspection fees
  • Alaska Background Check program fees
  • Possible repairs/modifications to building
  • Possible well water test feed
  • Pediatric First Aid/CPR and other required certifications and trainings

Steps to becoming license:

  • Complete and submit a Provisional Child Care Licensing Application packet
  • Obtain valid background checks for you and all household members and/or caregivers 16 years of age and older
  • Obtain Fire Marshal Inspection/Plan Approval if applicable
  • Participate in an administrator orientation to child care licensing regulations, statutes and requirements
  • Participate in an onsite compliance evaluation – a full premises inspection of the entire inside of the facility and outside of the property

Childcare license application in Alaska

Here’s a quick summary of the steps required to apply for an Alaska childcare license. More information on the comprehensive process can be found here.

Step 1: Contact child care program office

First, you should contact the Alaska Child Care Program Office (CCPO) regional office (email: [email protected] or call toll-free statewide at 888-268-4632) to inquire about childcare licensing in Alaska. A childcare licensing staff will refer you to the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) childcare licensing office (CCL) or the CCPO website for an Application for Provisional Child Care License packet.

Step 2: Complete and submit your application

Complete and submit the Application for Provisional Child Care License CC52 form with the necessary information required for daycare license consideration. You must pay a plan review fee if you’re an MOA applicant:

  • 1 to 8 children: $30.00
  • 9 to 20 children: $30.00
  • 21 to 80 children: $65.00
  • 81 plus children: $130.00

You can submit your Application for Provisional Child Care License packet through the mail, email, fax, or in person at one of the Child Care Program Office (CCPO) regional offices.

The below information must also be included in your application:

  • CPR and first aid certification
  • State of Alaska business license
  • Plan of operation
  • Fire inspection report
  • Food service (child care centers only)
  • Well water test
  • Septic system inspection
  • Business permit

Step 3: Complete a criminal history background check

All childcare providers must complete a criminal history background check with fingerprints before your request is processed. Criminal history background check applications must be submitted to the Alaska Background Check Program (BCP).

Step 4: Ready Yourself for an Onsite Facility Inspection and Orientation

Once your application is submitted, a designated childcare licensing specialist will be assigned to guide you through the orientation and facility inspection. The specialist will furnish you with a copy of the childcare licensing inspection checklist and any relevant addendum.

As part of the orientation process, a comprehensive examination of childcare licensing laws and regulations will be conducted. This session also serves as an opportunity to address any queries or express concerns.

For MOA applicants, be ready to remit a license fee, which is a prerequisite before the onsite pre-licensing inspection. The fee amount is contingent upon your facility’s capacity.

Here a breakdown of the fees:

  • 1 to 8 children: $50.00
  • 9 to 20 children: $125.00
  • 21 to 80 children: $250.00
  • 81 plus children: $375.00

Step 5: Await Approval

Following the submission of your application, the department will conduct a thorough review, providing an approval or denial within a 90-day period. Successful applicants will receive a provisional license, valid for one year, starting from the first day of the subsequent month.

Throughout this period, the department will conduct both scheduled and unannounced inspections to ensure complete adherence to childcare regulations.

Securing a childcare license marks an initial stride in launching your business. Armed with a grasp of specific regulations, you can now delve into crafting your business plan and selecting a compelling name for your center. To foster business growth, outline your marketing strategies within your business plan, enabling you to target your ideal clientele and draw new families to your program.

daycare in Alaska

After Licensing

Once you are licensed

  • You will be subject to announced and unannounced inspections
  • Your licensing specialist will work cooperatively with you on a plan of correction for any findings
  • If the facility continues to be out of compliance, or the violations are severe, providers may be subject to financial and other penalties up to and including closure.

Embarking on the journey to start a daycare in Alaska requires a thoughtful and meticulous approach. Navigating the state’s unique challenges, from remote locations to extreme weather conditions, necessitates compliance with stringent licensing requirements and the development of robust emergency preparedness plans. Establishing a warm and inclusive environment that embraces Alaska’s rich cultural diversity is crucial for creating a welcoming atmosphere for both children and their families.

Building strong connections with local communities and tailoring services to meet their specific needs further enhances the success of your daycare venture. Leveraging tools like childcare management software, such as SimplySafeChild’s, can streamline operations, regardless of the daycare’s size, making management more efficient. As you await approval, it’s important to be prepared for inspections that ensure ongoing compliance with childcare regulations. Obtaining a childcare license is not just a legal requirement; it marks the foundation for your business, setting the stage for further planning, growth, and the provision of quality care to Alaska’s families.

Child Care Contact Information

Child Care Program Office (Alaska)

State Health and Social Services

Suite 230

619 East Ship Creek Avenue

Anchorage, AK 99501

Phone: (907) 269-4500

Toll-Free: (888) 268-4632

Toll-Free Restrictions: AK residents only

Fax: (907) 269-4520

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services

Division of Public Assistance Child Care Program Office

619 East Shipcreek Avenue, Suite 230

Anchorage, AK 99501

Phone: 907-269-4500

To best market your daycare and utilize coming tools such as all-in-one waitlist management, payment processing, and single scan solutions for parent updates, sign up at https://www.Daycare.com/signup

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