How to Start a Daycare in Maryland

Post by

Picture of Daycare Staff

Daycare Staff

At Daycare.com, our articles are penned by a dynamic team of seasoned experts who've spent years in the trenches with kids and daycare center owners. Imagine a mix of laughter, learning, and aha moments distilled into every article! From playful tips for early childhood education to navigating the wild ride of daycare provider life, we're your go-to source for reliable info with a side of fun.

Starting a daycare in Maryland requires careful planning and adherence to state regulations.

  • Begin by researching the licensing requirements outlined by the Maryland Department of Education’s Office of Child Care. Familiarize yourself with zoning laws and ensure your chosen location complies with them.
  • Develop a comprehensive business plan outlining your services, target market, staffing needs, and financial projections.
  • Secure funding for startup costs, which may include facility rental or purchase, equipment, and initial operating expenses. Obtain necessary permits and licenses, such as a business license and health department approvals.
  • Invest in liability insurance to protect your business.
  • Create policies and procedures for safety, curriculum, and emergency protocols.
  • Recruit qualified staff and conduct background checks as required by law.
  • Market your daycare through various channels, such as social media, local advertising, a com listing, and community outreach.
  • Prioritize creating a nurturing and stimulating environment for children while maintaining compliance with state regulations to ensure the success and sustainability of your daycare in Maryland.

Do I need a childcare license in Maryland?

A childcare license or registration is required in Maryland to provide childcare services. All childcare providers are regulated by the Maryland State Department of Education’s Office of Child Care (OCC). The licensing branch has 13 regional offices responsible for all regulatory activities.

In Maryland, a childcare license or registration is mandatory for offering childcare services, with oversight provided by the Maryland State Department of Education’s Office of Child Care (OCC). This regulatory body administers childcare providers through its licensing branch, which operates across 13 regional offices overseeing all regulatory functions.

There are three distinct types of childcare licenses offered in Maryland:

  • Family Child Care Home: This license permits the provision of childcare services for up to eight children within a residential setting.
  • Large Family Child Care Home: With this license, childcare can be provided for up to 12 children within a residential environment.
  • Child Care Center: This license enables childcare services to be offered in a facility outside a residential home, provided the location is zoned appropriately for use as a childcare center.

Daycare in Maryland

Childcare licensing requirements in Maryland

Creating a business plan is one of the first steps to starting a daycare business. However, you must fulfill several licensing requirements before you can operate legally in Maryland.

Family child care home licensing requirements

Provider requirements

According to the licensing manual, a family child care home provider must:

  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Possess a CDA credential, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education
  • Have basic first aid and CPR training through the American Heart Association
  • If providing care for children younger than 24 months old, have Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) training
  • Within two years before applying for registration, complete 24 clock hours of approved training, including four clock hours in each of the six core knowledge competencies
  • Completed emergency and disaster planning training
  • Approved training in supporting breastfeeding practices
  • Three clock hours of approved training in complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Approved training in medication administration

Provider substitute must:

  • Be appointed by the provider
  • Be approved by the department
  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Apply for a federal and state criminal background check
  • Present no risk to children’s health, safety, or welfare

An additional adult must:

  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Attend an information session presented by the department for the care of children younger than two years old
  • Apply for a federal and state criminal background check
  • Complete basic first aid and CPR training applicable to children younger than two years old
  • Complete approved SIDS training within the previous five years

Volunteers must:

  • Present no risk to children’s health, safety, or welfare
  • Undergo a child health and safety orientation
  • Apply for a federal and state criminal background check
  • Be 18 years or older to care for children under two

Capacity requirements

  • The children present in care shouldn’t exceed the capacity stated on the registration certificate
  • Family child care homes may care for no more than eight children, with no more than four being younger than two years old
  • The facilities may not provide care to more than two children younger than two years old unless approved by the department
  • If more than two children younger than two years old are in care, an additional adult must be present

Large family child care home licensing requirements

Provider requirements

A large family child care home director must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Complete nine hours of training in communications with parents, staff, and the public
  • Complete three semester hours of administrative procedures training
  • Have a national child development credential or six semester hours or 90 actual hours of child development training

A large family child care home teacher must:

  • Be 19 years old or older
  • Have completed approved pre service training in child development and curriculum
  • Have three clock hours of approved training in complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Have one year of experience working under supervision with children in a licensed childcare center, nursery school, church-operated school, or similar setting
  • Have been approved as a teacher by the Department for Early Childhood in nursery school through third grade
  • Must have completed approved basic health and safety training
  • If supervising a child younger than two years old, must have completed approved training in supporting breastfeeding practices

A large family childcare home aide must:

  • Be 16 years or older
  • Complete 90 hours or the equivalent in early childhood education pre service training

Substitutes:

  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Maintain the staff:child ratios in the absence of a staff member
  • Complete, sign, and submit to the department the required forms for substitutes, including permission to examine records of abuse and neglect of children
  • Must apply for a federal and state criminal background check
  • Must present no risk to children’s health, safety, or welfare

Support personnel

  • Support personnel must carry out all duties not involving direct supervision of children e.g. food preparation and service, housekeeping, clerical, and transportation

Volunteers

  • Must pass a criminal background check or a review of records of abuse and neglect of children or adults
  • Must work under the close supervision of the provider or a staff member

Capacity requirements

Large family child care home providers are allowed to care for up to 12 children at any time, with no more than two children under two years old.

Same-age groups:

Ages Staff to child ratio Maximum group size
2 years old 1 to 6 12
3 or 4 years old 1 to 10 12
5 years old or older 1 to 12 12

 

Groups of children younger than 2 years old:

Ages Staff to child ratio Maximum group size
Infants 1 to 3 6
Toddlers 1 to 3 9
Infants and toddlers, with 1 to 2 infants in the group 1 to 3 9
Infants and toddlers, with 3 or more infants in the group 1 to 3 6

 

Mixed-age groups with children younger than 2 years old:

Group composition Minimum staffing level Maximum group size
Includes 1 or 2 children under the age of 2 1 staff member 8
Includes 1 or 2 children under the age of 2 2 staff members 12
Includes 3 or 4 children under the age of 2 2 staff members 8
Includes 3 or 4 children under the age of 2 3 staff members 12

 

Mixed-age groups with children 2 years old or older:

Group composition Group size Minimum staffing level
Includes one to three 2-year-old children Up to 10 1 staff member
Includes four or more 2-year-old children Up to 12 2 staff members

Daycare in Maryland

 

Child care center licensing requirements

Provider requirements

A child care center director must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Must be present in a center at least half of the operating hours of the center every week
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Complete nine hours of training in communications with parents, staff, and public
  • Complete three semester hours of administrative procedures training
  • Complete national child development credential or six semester hours or 90 actual hours of child development training
  • Complete three hours of approved training in complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Complete six semester hours or 90 clock hours, or the equivalent, of approved pre service training, or hold the Child Development Associate National Credential
  • Complete approved basic health and safety training within 90 days of employment

Child care teachers in preschool centers must:

  • Be 19 years old or older
  • Have a high school diploma, a certificate of high school equivalence, or courses for credit from an accredited college or university
  • Complete six semester hours or 90 clock hours or their equivalent of approved pre service training, or hold the Child Development Associate Credential issued by the Child Development Associate National Credentialing Program
  • Complete three clock hours of approved training in complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Complete approved basic health and safety training within 90 days of employment
  • Have nine clock hours of approved pre service training in communicating with staff, parents, and the public, or at least one academic college course for credit
  • Have at least one year of experience working under supervision mainly with preschoolers in a licensed child care center, nursery school, church-operated school, or similar setting, or as a registered family child care provider caring for preschoolers; or one year of college, or a combination of experience and college together equivalent to one year

Assistant child care teachers must:

  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Hold a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalence, or have successfully completed courses for credit from an accredited college or university
  • Complete nine hours of approved pre service training in communicating with staff, parents, and the public, or have completed at least one academic college course for credit
  • Complete approved basic health and safety training within 90 days of employment
  • Have at least one of the following: 800 hours of recent paid or documented volunteer experience supervising groups of school-age children in educational, recreational, social, or guidance contexts; 600 hours of approved experience and 15 hours of approved college coursework; or 400 hours of approved experience and three semester hours or 45 clock hours, or their equivalent, of approved college coursework

A child care center aide must:

  • Be 16 years or older
  • Complete 90 clock hours or the equivalent in early childhood education pre service training
  • Complete three hours of approved training in complying with the Americans with Disabilities

Capacity requirements

Child care center ratio requirements:

Age range Staff:child ratio
Infants 1:3
Young toddlers 1:3
2 years old 1:6
Preschool 1:10
School age 1:15
Mixed age group Varies by ages

Childcare license application in Maryland

Here are the steps when applying for a childcare license in Maryland.

Step 1: Reach out to your local regional licensing office

Get in touch with your local regional licensing office to discuss the process of obtaining a childcare facility license or letter of compliance. They will guide you through the application process and oversee various activities, including:

  • Processing your application
  • Conducting facility inspections to ensure compliance with regulatory standards
  • Issuing your license or letter of compliance
  • Providing technical assistance
  • Addressing any regulatory queries you may have

Step 2: Attend an in-person orientation training

Participation in an in-person orientation session is mandatory for individuals seeking any of the three types of childcare licenses. During this session, you will receive comprehensive details regarding the application procedure and the prerequisites necessary for obtaining a certificate of registration.

If language assistance is required, please notify the office ahead of your orientation to arrange for an interpreter. Additionally, it is highly recommended that applicants pursuing a Letter of Compliance also attend an orientation session. This is essential to acquaint applicants with state and local regulations governing childcare services.

You can also complete the orientation online:

Step 3: Complete and submit your application

Complete the appropriate application form—Family Child Care Home Application (OCC 1230), Large Family Child Care Home Application (OCC 1240), or Child Care Center Application (OCC 1200)—for initial registration at least 60 days before your anticipated opening date. The regional licensing office will review your application and determine if your daycare meets the licensing criteria.

Refer to the relevant application checklist to ensure all required documents are included:

The following documents must also be included with the application:

The regional licensing office will issue a certificate of registration within 30 days upon successfully meeting all the requirements. You’ll also be issued a provisional certificate of registration.

Starting a daycare business in Maryland can be fulfilling, but it can also be challenging if you are a first-time business owner. In addition to obtaining your childcare license, you’ll also need to decide on a memorable name for your daycare and create a plan for your marketing strategies.

Daycare in Maryland

How to stay compliant with a daycare license in Maryland

Ensuring compliance entails adhering to all laws, administrative regulations, and local as well as state requirements. Continuously, you must oversee the completion of mandatory training sessions for staff and maintain thorough records of such training. Moreover, it is imperative to guarantee that your facility meets all pertinent health and safety standards.

Maryland mandates daycare owners to renew their licenses biennially. Depending on the nature of your business, you will be required to submit either a center license application, a family child care home application, or a large family child care home application, accompanied by all requisite documentation and applicable fees.

Furthermore, all operational daycare centers in Maryland are subject to annual inspections. These assessments encompass both the facility and its personnel and are conducted by qualified inspectors designated by the Maryland Office of Child Care (OCC). In the event of any infractions, corrective measures must be promptly undertaken by the daycare owner within the specified timeframe.

Start a daycare in Maryland

Understanding and adhering to childcare licensing prerequisites stands as an initial phase in launching a daycare venture in Maryland. Dedicate time to thorough research, acquaint yourself with the requisite documentation, and organize diligently to facilitate the smooth operation of a successful and efficient program. Through meticulous planning and preparation, securing a childcare license becomes attainable, propelling you forward to the subsequent phase of advancing your business.

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

Share this:

Related article:

Embarking on the journey to start a daycare in Alabama, whether it’s a cozy home daycare or a…...
Starting a daycare in Alaska demands thoughtful consideration of the distinct challenges and prospects posed by the state’s…...
Starting a daycare in Arizona requires careful planning and adherence to state regulations. Whether you are embarking on…...