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How to Start a Daycare in Oregon

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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 Oklahoma requires careful planning and adherence to state regulations.

  • Begin by researching and understanding the licensing requirements set forth by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS).
  • Develop a comprehensive business plan outlining your daycare’s structure, services offered, target market, and financial projections.
  • Secure a suitable location that complies with zoning regulations and offers ample space for children to play and learn safely. Obtain the necessary permits and licenses, including a child care license from OKDHS.
  • Create policies and procedures covering safety protocols, staffing requirements, and curriculum guidelines. Invest in quality equipment, toys, and educational materials to facilitate children’s development.
  • Hire qualified and experienced staff members who are passionate about childcare and capable of providing nurturing and educational experiences.
  • Market your daycare through local advertising, a daycare.com listing, social media, and community outreach to attract families in need of childcare services.
  • Regularly assess and update your daycare’s operations to maintain compliance with regulations and ensure the highest quality of care for children in your community.
Do I need a childcare license in Oregon? Establishing a daycare center demands thorough preparation, involving the creation of a business plan, devising marketing tactics, generating ideas for daycare names, and conducting site evaluations to identify suitable locations. Whether launching the program within a commercial space or from one’s residence, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the entire procedure beforehand. Typically, obtaining a license is obligatory for running a daycare in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care, Office of Child Care (OCC), provides licensing for three categories of childcare programs: registered family child care homes, certified family child care homes, and certified childcare centers. Familiarizing oneself with OCC’s specific regulations and prerequisites is paramount to ensure compliance and the successful establishment of a daycare enterprise in Oregon.

Registered family child care

A registered family child care home is characterized as a childcare program licensed to oversee a maximum of 10 children within the caregiver’s household.

Certified family child care

A certified family child care home is a childcare facility that has obtained certification to look after a maximum of 16 children and operates from a single-family residence.

Certified childcare center

A certified childcare center is described as a childcare facility certified to accommodate 13 or more children, or alternatively, a facility certified to cater to 12 or fewer children situated within a commercial building. However, there are various exemptions to consider. Depending on the type of childcare services rendered, obtaining a license may not be obligatory; nevertheless, you might be required to register the program with the OCC. As per the OCC, the following circumstances are exempt from licensing:
  • Providing care in the child’s residence, where all children present (excluding your own) reside in that home.
  • Being related to all the children under your care.
  • Caring for children from the same family, excluding your own.
  • Providing care for fewer than 70 days per year.
  • Caring for three or fewer children, excluding your own children, simultaneously.
  • Operating a program for school-age children, focused on a single enrichment activity, and running for a maximum of eight hours weekly.
  • Hosting a program primarily consisting of a group athletic or social activity sponsored by an organized club or hobby group.
  • Managing a parent-cooperative childcare program, where parents provide care on a rotating basis, and the program operates for no more than four hours per day.
  • Operation by a school district, state political subdivision, or governmental agency.
  • Operating a program in a facility offering childcare services while parents remain on-site and participate in activities provided by the facility or engage in other non-work-related activities.
  • Operating a preschool or school-age recorded program.

Daycare in Oregon

Childcare licensing requirements in Oregon

As you embark on establishing a daycare center, it’s crucial to recognize that the program requirements can differ based on the type of facility you’re intending to open. It’s essential to thoroughly consider all these requirements before moving forward with the application process. Applicants and licensees for any childcare program are mandated to:
  • Participate in an introduction to childcare health and safety training.
  • Successfully complete OCC-approved safe sleep training.
  • Acquire certification in food handlers’ safety.
  • Obtain certification in first aid and CPR specifically tailored for infants and toddlers.
  • Attain OCC-approved Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect (RRCAN) certification.
  • Conduct lead testing of the water supply if it’s used for drinking, cooking, or preparing infant food or formula.
  • Undergo comprehensive background checks with OCC.
  • Implement a guidance and discipline policy.
  • Incorporate planned educational activities.
  • Maintain accurate attendance records.

Registered family child care

If you are seeking licensure for a registered family child care home, your program must adhere to particular stipulations.

Provider requirements

Registered family child care providers must comply with specific requirements, which include:
  • Being at least 18 years old.
  • Residing in the home where child care services will be rendered.
  • Demonstrating competence, sound judgment, and self-control in their interactions with children.
  • Being physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of fulfilling child care responsibilities.
  • Successfully completing the Introduction to Registered Family Child Care Training.
  • Actively enrolling in OCC’s Central Background Registry (CBR), along with other household members aged 18 or older.
  • Finishing OCC-approved child development training, as well as any required staff training.

Facility requirements

Additionally, there are requirements for the residence where the registered family child care business will operate, ensuring a safe environment for children:
  • All exposed electrical outlets accessible to children must be covered.
  • Appliance cords must be in good condition.
  • Stable barriers must be installed to prevent children from falling into hazards, including secure barriers at the top and/or bottom of stairways.
  • Functional smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors must be installed.
  • At least one fire extinguisher must be present on each floor of the home and must undergo monthly inspections.
  • Firearms, guns, and ammunition must be securely locked and stored.
  • Cleaning supplies, paints, and other hazardous items must be stored under child-safety locks.
  • Monthly fire drills must be practiced.
  • The provider must have a written evacuation plan for emergencies.
  • All floors must have access to two usable exits.

Ratio and capacity requirements

The following guidelines outline the staff-to-child ratio and capacity requirements for registered family child care programs:
  • Providers may offer care for a maximum of 10 children under the age of 13, including the provider’s own children and any other children under their care.
    • Among these children:
    • Up to six may be preschool-age or younger, with a maximum of two under 24 months old.
    • Additionally, four school-age children may be accommodated, in addition to the six preschool-age or younger children.
    • If there are fewer than six preschool-age or younger children, more school-age children may be in care, provided the total number of children does not exceed 10 at any given time.
    • No child younger than 6 weeks old may be in care in a family child care home, excluding the provider’s own children.

Certified family child care

A certified family child care home must also meet specific licensing requirements.

Provider requirements

These are the prerequisites for becoming a certified family childcare provider:
  • Be a minimum of 18 years old if the facility is certified for 12 children or older than 21 if certified for more than 12 children.
  • Possess one of the following qualifications:
  • At least one year of qualifying teaching experience in overseeing a group of children in an ongoing group setting such as kindergarten, preschool, child care center, certified family child care home, registered family child care home, or Head Start program.
  • Before applying for certification to accommodate up to 16 children, complete one year of successful operation as a certified family child care facility for 12 children if the qualifying teaching experience is based on registered family child care.
  • Completion of 20 semester credits or 30 quarter credits at a college or university in early childhood education or development.
  • Documentation verifying attainment of at least step eight in the Oregon Registry.

Daycare in Oregon

Facility requirements

Below are the requirements for the residence where the certified family childcare business will operate, ensuring a safe environment for children:
  • All electrical outlets accessible to children must be covered.
  • Appliance cords must be in good condition.
  • Stable barriers must be installed to prevent children from accessing hazards, including secure barriers at the top and/or bottom of stairways.
  • Functional smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors must be installed.
  • At least one fire extinguisher must be present on each floor of the home and must undergo monthly inspections.
  • Firearms, guns, and ammunition must be securely locked and stored.
  • Cleaning supplies, paints, and other potentially hazardous items must be stored under child-safety locks.
  • Monthly fire drills must be practiced.
  • The provider must have a written emergency evacuation plan.
  • All floors must have access to two usable exits.

Ratio and capacity requirements

In certified family child care programs, the number of caregivers and the size of the group are contingent upon the number and ages of children under the provider’s supervision. If all children belong to the same age group, the staff-to-child ratio is as follows:
When all children in care are: No group may exceed: With a caregiver-to-child ratio of: Notes
Six weeks to 24 months 12 1:4 If more than 12 children are in care, the groups must be separated, and if more than eight of the 13 children in care are infants or toddlers, the group size may not exceed eight.
24 months to eligible for first grade 12 1:10 If more than 12 children are in care, the groups must be separated.
Eligible for first grade to 13 years old 16 1:15 May be one group; must have a second provider if over 15 school-age children are in care.
  If children in care include infants and/or toddlers, the staff-to-child ratio is as follows:
When children in care include: No group may exceed: With a caregiver-to-child ratio of: Notes
One child under 24 months 12 1:8 If more than 12 children are in care and one is under 24 months, the group must be separated. Each group must meet the appropriate adult-to-child ratio.
Two children under 24 months 12 1:7 If more than 12 children are in care and two are under 24 months, the group must be separated. Each group must meet the appropriate adult-to-child ratio.
Three children under 24 months 12 1:6 If more than 12 children are in care and over three are under 24 months, the group must be separated. Each group must meet the appropriate adult-to-child ratio.
Four or more children under 24 months 12 1:4 If more than 12 children are in care and four are under 24 months, the group must be separated. Each group must meet the appropriate adult-to-child ratio, and if more than eight infants or toddlers are in care, group size may not exceed eight.
If the children in care is a mix of preschool and school-aged, the staff-to-child ratio is as follows:
When all children in care are: No group may exceed: With a caregiver-to-child ratio of: Notes
One child in care age 24 months to eligible for first grade, and the rest of children in care are school-age 12 1:12 If more than 12 children are in care, the groups must be separated to create groups of 12 or fewer children.
Between two and 12 children are between 24 months and eligible for first grade, and the rest of the children in care are school-age 12 1:10 If more than 12 children are in care, the groups must be separated to create groups of 12 or fewer children.

Certified childcare center

Certified childcare centers must adhere to distinct regulations and criteria to secure a license.

Provider requirements

Here are the requirements for a certified childcare center director:
  • Must be at least 21 years old.
  • Must meet one of the following criteria:
    • Possess at least one year of training and/or experience in managing and supervising adults, along with knowledge of child development relevant to the primary ages served in the center. This should be supported by a combination of professional references, education, experience, or training.
    • Provide documentation of achieving at least step nine in the Oregon Registry.
    • Have one year of training and/or experience in managing and supervising adults OR demonstrate knowledge of child development pertinent to the primary ages served by the center, backed by a combination of professional references, education, experience, or training. In cases where a component is missing, a plan approved by OCC must be submitted, outlining how the deficiency will be addressed and how the program will be managed until the director obtains the necessary training, experience, or knowledge.

Facility requirements

Certified childcare centers must fulfill the following facility requirements to ensure the creation of a safe and hazard-free environment for children:
  • Comply with local planning and zoning regulations, building codes, environmental health standards, and receive approval from the fire marshal.
  • Provide a building floor plan or drawing of the facility to OCC.
  • Ensure that all floor levels utilized by children for play and napping have two usable exits leading to the ground level.
  • Maintain clear and unobstructed usable exits.
  • Cover all exposed electrical outlets accessible to children.
  • Ensure appliance cords are in good condition.
  • Implement protective barriers to prevent children from falling into hazards.
  • Install and regularly test working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Have at least one fire extinguisher available within the center.
  • Store cleaning supplies, paints, and other potentially hazardous items under child-safety locks.
  • Conduct monthly fire drills.
  • Develop a written evacuation plan for emergencies.
  • Allocate a minimum of 75 square feet of outdoor space per child using the area simultaneously and a minimum of 35 square feet of indoor activity area per child.

Ratio and capacity requirements

Certified childcare centers must follow the staff-to-child ratio requirements below:
Age of children Minimum number of staff to children Maximum group size
6 weeks to 23 months 1:4 8
24 months to 35 months of age 1:5 10
36 months to school-age 1:10 20
School-age 1:15 30
 
Age of children Minimum number of staff to children Maximum group size
6 weeks and under 30 months 1:4 8
30 months to school-age 1:10 20
School-age 1:15 30

Daycare in Oregon

Childcare licensing application process in Oregon

A fully completed application is mandatory for the opening, reopening, or renewal of a childcare program’s annual certificate or registration, as well as for changes in ownership, operators, or locations. All applications must be submitted at least 45 days prior to the program’s opening, with the application process and fees subject to variation depending on the program type.

Registered family child care

Step 1: Register for the introductory course Attend the Introduction to Registered Family Child Care training session, during which you will receive licensing applications and instructions for submitting a background check. Step 2: Fulfill the necessary training requirements Ensure completion of all additional training prerequisites. Step 3: Enroll in the Central Background Registry (CBR) Both the provider and all individuals aged 18 and above residing in the household must enroll in the Oregon Central Background Registry (CBR). After processing CBR applications, applicants can proceed with fingerprinting. Step 4: Submit the application and associated fees Fill out and submit the license application along with the necessary Safety Set Training verification and the $30 application fee. The training verification should include:
  • Valid first aid and infant and child cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification
  • Food Handlers Certification
  • Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect (RRCAN) certification
  • OCC-approved Introduction to Child Care Health and Safety (ICCHS) training
  • OCC-approved Safe Sleep training
Step 5: Undergo a health and safety review Upon completion of the application process, a licensing specialist will conduct a thorough health and safety review. During this assessment, they will inspect the premises to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Upon approval, you will receive an annual license valid for two years.

Certified family child care

Step 1: Ensure compliance with planning, zoning, and building codes Certified family child care homes must adhere to local planning and zoning regulations, building codes, and environmental health standards. This involves conducting lead water testing and submitting a building floor plan or drawing of the facility to the OCC. Documentation demonstrating compliance with local regulations is required. Step 2: Undergo the pre-certification visit Certified family childcare home applicants in Oregon must undergo a pre-certification visit conducted by the OCC to assess eligibility for a certified family childcare license and evaluate the suitability of the home. Following the submission of required documentation and meeting all criteria, a licensing specialist will visit the premises. They will assess the space’s capacity, suggest any necessary changes, inspect various areas of the home, and discuss program rules such as staffing requirements and enrollment in the Central Background Registry (CBR). The application packet will be provided once the specialist determines that an application can be submitted. Step 3: Complete the environmental health inspection Applicants will receive instructions in the application packet for scheduling the environmental health inspection. Any identified issues must be rectified before a license is issued. Step 4: Enroll in the Central Background Registry (CBR) The provider and all household members aged 18 and above must enroll in the Central Background Registry (CBR). Upon processing of CBR applications, applicants can proceed with fingerprinting. Step 5: Submit the application and associated fees Complete and submit the license application along with the relevant application fee. Step 6: Pass the initial inspection Upon successful completion of the fire safety and environmental health inspections, a licensing specialist will conduct the initial inspection. During this assessment, they will ensure compliance with all requirements and verify staff qualifications. If any non-compliant items are identified, applicants will be notified and given an opportunity to address them. A temporary license may be issued if the facility meets most OCC requirements. With a temporary license, childcare services can commence for a period of up to 180 days. Within this timeframe, if the facility demonstrates ongoing compliance with all requirements, it may transition to an annual license, which is valid for one year from the effective date of the temporary license.

How to stay compliant with a daycare license in Oregon

After obtaining the appropriate license, all childcare programs must continue to adhere to regulatory requirements. Some websites offers a dependable method for managing administrative tasks, record-keeping, capacity tracking, staff-to-child ratios, and more. Center management software can streamline operations and aid in maintaining compliance in the following areas: Registered family child care: Throughout the two-year licensing period, registered family child care providers will undergo at least two unannounced visits from their licensing specialist. The specialist will review several aspects, including:
  • Ages and number of children present in the home
  • Ensuring adequate supervision of children
  • Verification of adult enrollment in the Central Background Registry (CBR)
  • Compliance with health, safety, and sanitation regulations

Certified family child care and certified childcare center

Certified family child care and certified childcare center programs undergo at least one announced visit from their licensing specialist annually. During this inspection, the specialist will assess various aspects, including:
  • Total number of children in the facility (capacity)
  • Adequate supervision of children
  • Compliance with staff-to-child ratio requirements
  • Adherence to group size limitations
  • Presence of qualified staff with each group of children
  • Upcoming training obligations

Start a daycare in Oregon

Starting a childcare business is no simple task, but with a thorough grasp of the process and careful planning, it holds the potential for significant success. The initial crucial step is acquiring the appropriate license for your program, thereafter allowing you to concentrate on establishing a safe and nurturing environment conducive to children’s growth and well-being. 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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