How to Start a Daycare in Utah

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

  • Begin by conducting thorough research on licensing requirements set forth by the Utah Department of Health, as well as local zoning ordinances and business regulations.
  • Create a detailed business plan outlining your daycare’s structure, services offered, target market, and financial projections.
  • Secure suitable premises that comply with safety standards and zoning laws. Obtain necessary permits and licenses, including childcare facility licensing and food handler permits if meals are provided.
  • Develop policies and procedures for staff hiring, training, and child safety. Invest in age-appropriate furniture, toys, and educational materials.
  • Market your daycare through online platforms, a com listing, community outreach, and partnerships with local organizations.
  • Establish clear communication channels with parents and maintain transparent billing practices.
  • Prioritize safety, nurturing environments, and quality childcare to foster trust and satisfaction among families in Utah.

Regularly review and update your operations to meet evolving needs and regulations.

Do I need a childcare license in Utah?

Prior to launching a daycare center, it’s essential to ascertain whether your program necessitates licensing. The Utah Department of Health and Human Services mandates licensing for both home-based and center-based childcare programs.

Home-based programs

Home-based childcare programs are in the provider’s home:

  • Licensed family childcare providers: Offer care for a maximum of 16 children, which includes their own children, aged under four. Additionally, they may accommodate up to three extra school-aged children beyond their licensed capacity.
  • Residential certified childcare providers: Provide care for up to eight children, including their own children, under the age of four. They may also care for up to two additional school-aged children beyond their license’s capacity.

Center-based programs

Center-based childcare programs are in a commercial setting:

Licensed childcare centers: Offer care for children ranging from birth up to 12 years old, and for children aged 13 to 17 with disabilities. These centers provide care for less than 24 hours per day continuously for four or more weeks annually.

Licensed commercial preschool programs: Cater to children aged two to five years old. Preschools provide care for each child for less than four hours per day on an ongoing basis for more than two days a week and for four or more weeks annually.

Licensed hourly centers: Provide care for children from birth to age 12, as well as for children aged 13 to 17 with disabilities. Children attending hourly centers do not adhere to regular care schedules and are cared for on a drop-in basis.

Exemptions from licensing

Some childcare facilities in Utah are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a childcare license or certificate from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. However, these facilities are still required to meet certain application and public notice criteria.

daycare in Utah

Utah’s childcare licensing regulations

Daycare establishments in Utah are obligated to meet the licensing criteria set by the Department of Health and Human Services to acquire a daycare license.

Licensed family childcare provider

Licensed family childcare providers are subject to specific licensing prerequisites that must be fulfilled before obtaining their license.

Provider qualifications

  • Minimum age requirement of 18 years.
  • Successful completion of a Utah Child Care Licensing (CCL) background check.
  • The provider must be physically present at the facility for at least 50% of the operating hours each week. In their absence, there must be at least one staff member aged 18 or older present while children are under care.
  • Display of an unaltered family childcare license on the premises, readily visible and accessible during business hours.
  • Completion of the Utah Department of Human Services’ mandatory new provider training, along with a minimum of 20 hours of childcare training annually.
  • Ensuring the presence of at least one staff member with current pediatric first aid and CPR certification from the Red Cross, American Heart Association, or equivalent, during childcare activities, transportation, and offsite excursions.

Caregiver requirements

  • In order to qualify as a caregiver at a licensed family childcare facility, individuals must be a minimum of 16 years old. Successful completion of a CCL background check and participation in at least two-and-a-half hours of preservice training are mandatory before assuming childcare responsibilities.
  • For individuals under the age of 18, unsupervised interaction with any child in their care, including during off-site activities and transportation, is prohibited.
  • Caregivers are also obliged to complete a minimum of 20 hours of childcare training annually, including pre-service and annual health and safety training. Furthermore, at least half of the required annual training must involve interactive components.

Staff-to-child ratios

  • Licensed family childcare providers are required to maintain specific caregiver-to-child ratios: one caregiver for every eight children in their care, and two caregivers for groups numbering between nine and 16 children.
  • Moreover, licensed family childcare providers must adhere to maximum group sizes: a maximum of 12 children when one caregiver is present, and up to 24 children when two caregivers are present.
  • Additionally, licensed family childcare providers have the option to include the children of staff members who are aged 4 or older in both the group size and staff-to-child ratio. This inclusion applies when the staff member is either working or not working at the facility.

Residential certified childcare provider

Before obtaining a license, residential certified childcare providers must adhere to specific licensing requirements.

Provider qualifications

  • The provider must be at least 18 years old.
  • Successful completion of a Utah Child Care Licensing (CCL) background check is mandatory.
  • A residential certified childcare provider must be physically present at the home for at least 50% of the operational hours each week. In the provider’s absence, they must ensure that at least one staff member aged 18 or older is present when children are under care.
  • Displaying an unaltered family childcare license on the premises is required, with the license being readily visible and accessible to the public during business hours.
  • Completion of the Utah Department of Human Services’ free new provider training and a minimum of 10 hours of childcare training annually are necessary.
  • The provider must ensure the presence of at least one staff member with current pediatric first aid and CPR certification from the Red Cross, American Heart Association, or an equivalent organization. This requirement extends to childcare activities, transportation, and offsite excursions.

Caregiver requirements

  • In order to serve as a caregiver at a residential certified childcare facility, individuals must be at least 16 years old and undergo a CCL background check before engaging in childcare responsibilities.
  • Caregivers are obligated to complete a minimum of 10 hours of childcare training annually, with at least half of the training sessions being interactive.

Staff-to-child ratios

  • Residential certified childcare providers are required to uphold a ratio of one caregiver for every eight children.
  • Providers must ensure that the number of children under 2 years old in their care, including both the provider’s and employee’s own children, does not exceed two.

Licensed childcare center

There are specific licensing requirements that all licensed childcare centers must follow before obtaining a license.

Provider requirements

  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must pass a Utah Child Care Licensing (CCL) background check
  • Must complete the new provider training offered by the Department of Health and Human Services
  • The provider at a licensed childcare center must post a current copy of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Parent Guide at the facility for families to review during business hours

Director qualifications

  • The director must be at least 21 years old and undergo a CCL background check prior to commencing childcare duties.
  • They must be present at the facility for a minimum of 20 hours per week during operating hours, with adequate freedom from other duties to effectively manage the center and handle emergencies.
  • Completion of new director training and at least two and a half hours of pre-service training are mandatory before assuming job responsibilities.
  • It is required for directors to complete a minimum of 20 hours of childcare training annually.
  • Directors must also meet educational criteria, which can include:
    • Holding a bachelor’s or higher education degree along with at least 60 clock hours of approved Utah Early Childhood Career Ladder courses in child development, social and emotional development, and the childcare environment, or equivalent training approved by the department.
    • Completing at least 12 college credit hours of child development courses.
    • Possessing a current valid national certification such as a Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) issued by the National Child Care Association, or a Child Development Associate (CDA) issued by the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition.
    • Attaining at least a Level 9 from the Utah Early Childhood Career Ladder system or a National Administrator Credential (NAC) along with at least 60 clock hours of approved Utah Early Childhood Career Ladder courses in child development, social and emotional development, and the childcare environment, or equivalent training approved by the department.

Caregiver qualifications

  • In order to work as a caregiver at a licensed childcare center, individuals must be at least 16 years old and fulfill requirements including undergoing a CCL background check and completing pre service training before assuming responsibility for children.
  • Additionally, caregivers are mandated to undertake a minimum of 20 hours of childcare training annually.

daycare in Utah

Staff-to-child ratios

Licensed childcare centers are obligated to uphold suitable staff-to-child ratios and group sizes consistently.

For single-age groups of children, providers must adhere to the following ratios and group sizes:

Age group Caregiver-to-child ratio Maximum group size
0-11 months (infant) 1:4 8
12-17 months (younger toddler) 1:4 8
18-23 months (older toddler) 1:5 10
2 years 1:7 14
3 years 1:12 24
4 years 1:15 30
5 years and older (school-age) 1:20 40

 

For groups of mixed-age children that include infants and toddlers, the provider must ensure that infants are only mixed with toddlers under specific conditions:

  • The group must have eight or fewer children.
  • There can be no more than three children younger than two years old in the group.
  • If there are more than two children younger than 18 months and the group has more than four children, there must be at least two caregivers present.

If older toddlers and two-year-old children are combined:

  • There should be at least one caregiver for up to seven children, and at least two caregivers for eight to 14 children in the group.

Mixed-age groups including older toddlers and older children are permissible under the following circumstances:

  • The group must have eight or fewer children.
  • There can be no more than three older toddlers in the group.
  • If there are more than three younger toddlers and the group has more than five children, there must be at least two caregivers present.

Licensed commercial preschool program

There are specific licensing requirements that all licensed commercial preschool programs must follow before obtaining a license.

Provider requirements

  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must pass a Utah Child Care Licensing (CCL) background check before working with children
  • Must complete the new provider training offered by the department
  • Must post their unaltered childcare license on the facility premise in a place readily visible to the public
  • Must post a current copy of the department’s’ parent guide at the facility for families to review during business hours

Director qualifications

  • A preschool program must appoint a competent director who is at least 21 years old and undergoes a CCL background check, as well as at least two and a half hours of pre-service training, before assuming responsibility for children.
  • The director is further required to complete the new director training offered by the department within 60 working days of assuming the position.
  • Additionally, the director must annually complete a minimum of 10 hours of childcare training.
  • It is mandatory for the director to be present at the facility for at least 50% of the operational hours every week.
  • Furthermore, a director must fulfill one of the following educational qualifications:
    • Possession of any bachelor’s degree or higher education qualification.
    • Completion of at least 60 clock hours of approved Utah Early Childhood Career Ladder courses, covering child development, social and emotional development, and the childcare environment, or equivalent training approved by the department.
    • Completion of a minimum of 12 college credit hours in child development courses.
    • Holding a current valid national certification, such as a Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) issued by the National Child Care Association, or a Child Development Associate (CDA) issued by the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition.
    • Attainment of at least a Level 9 from the Utah Early Childhood Career Ladder system, or providing evidence of a minimum of five years of experience in early education teaching.

Caregiver qualifications

  • Caregivers must meet the requirement of being at least 16 years old, undergoing a CCL background check, and completing at least two and a half hours of preservice training before being responsible for children.
  • Additionally, each caregiver must complete a minimum of 10 hours of childcare training annually.

Staff-to-child ratios

Licensed commercial preschool programs are obligated to uphold specific staff-to-child ratios and group sizes.

In the case of single-age groups of children, the provider must adhere to the following ratios and group sizes:

Number of caregivers Ages of children Number of children
At least one 2 years old 7
At least one 3 years old 12
At least one 4 years old 15
At least one 5 years old 20

 

For mixed-age groups of children, the provider must maintain the following ratios and group sizes:

Two to five year olds

Number of caregivers Ages of children Number of children present
At least one Two years old 1-6
At least one Three, four, and five years old 1-10

Maximum total of children in the room: 11

Three to five year olds

Number of caregivers Ages of children Number of children present
At least one Three years old 1-11
At least one Four years old 1-14
At least one Five years old 1-14

Maximum total of children in the room: 16

Four to five year olds

Number of caregivers Ages of children Number of children present
At least one Four years old 1-14
At least one Five years old 1-17

Maximum total of children in the room: 18

Licensed hourly center

In order to establish a licensed hourly childcare center, you must fulfill specific licensing prerequisites.

Provider qualifications:

  • The provider must be a minimum of 21 years old.
  • They must successfully pass a Utah Child Care Licensing (CCL) background check.
  • Completion of new provider training is mandatory before overseeing children.

daycare in Utah

Director qualifications:

  • The director must be at least 21 years old and undergo a CCL background check prior to supervising children.
  • Additionally, they must complete new director training provided by the department, along with at least 2 and a half hours of pre-service training before commencing job responsibilities.
  • The director is required to undertake a minimum of 10 hours of childcare training annually.
  • Moreover, the director must fulfill one of the following educational qualifications:
    • Possession of any bachelor’s or higher education degree along with at least 60 clock hours of approved Utah Early Childhood Career Ladder courses in child development, social and emotional development, and the childcare environment, or equivalent training endorsed by the department.
    • Completion of at least 12 college credit hours of child development courses.
    • Holding a current valid national certification, such as a Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) issued by the National Child Care Association, or a Child Development Associate (CDA) issued by the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition.
    • Attainment of at least a Level 9 from the Utah Early Childhood Career Ladder system, or holding a National Administrator Credential (NAC) along with at least 60 clock hours of approved Utah Early Childhood Career Ladder courses in child development, social and emotional development, and the childcare environment, or equivalent training sanctioned by the department.

Caregiver qualifications

  • To work as a caregiver at a licensed hourly childcare center, you need to be at least 16 years old.
  • Before caring for children, a caregiver must undergo a CCL background check and complete preservice training.
  • Each year, a caregiver is required to complete a minimum of 10 hours of childcare training.

Staff-to-child ratios

Licensed hourly childcare centers must maintain staff-to-child ratios and group sizes. For any group of children, the provider must maintain the following ratios and group sizes:

Number of caregivers Number of children Limits for mixed ages
1 4 per group No more than four children younger than two years old
1 12 per group No children younger than two years old
1 8 per group Two children younger than two years old
1 6 in the facility Three children younger than two years old
2 24 per group No children younger than two years old
2 16 per group Four children younger than two years old

 

The provider must ensure that in a mixed-age group:

  • If there are more than 6 children in the facility or
  • If there are more than two infants or toddlers within the mixed-age group, and the total number of children exceeds six, at least two caregivers are present.

Additionally, when caring for children under two years old:

  • The provider must ensure that no more than four children are supervised by one caregiver.
  • Children in this age group must be cared for in an area physically separated from older children.

Childcare license application in Utah

Follow these steps to initiate the licensing process for your daycare program.

Step 1: Review Licensing Rules

Begin by acquainting yourself with the specific licensing regulations and criteria applicable to the childcare program you intend to establish.

Step 2: Complete New Provider Training

Participate in a complimentary two-hour online training session offering a concise overview of the licensing process.

Step 3: Submit an Application

Fill out a childcare licensing application, including necessary documents such as your current city business license, fire inspection report, kitchen inspection report, and, if applicable, educational credentials of your director and facility floor plans for licensed centers, commercial preschool programs, or hourly centers. Upon submission, you’ll receive an email confirming receipt and notifying you of any missing documents.

Step 4: Establish a UtahID Login

After application submission, create a UtahID account to access your childcare licensing portal.

Step 5: Complete Background Checks

Utilize your online account to initiate background checks and fingerprinting for all relevant individuals, including owners, directors, employees, caregivers, assistant caregivers, volunteers, and residents aged 12 or above at the facility.

Step 6: Payment and Paperwork Submission

Submit all required paperwork and pay the license fee, including a W-9 form, through the CCL portal. License fees may vary based on the type of license.

Step 7: Schedule Onsite Inspection

Once all documents are received, a licensor will reach out to schedule an onsite inspection. During the inspection, compliance with licensing regulations will be assessed, facility measurements will be taken, and total capacity will be determined. Compliance with all regulations is essential before issuance of the license.

License Renewal:

Childcare providers are required by the Department of Health and Human Services to renew their license or certification within 30 to 90 days before the current expiration date. To renew a childcare license or certification, an online renewal request, a $62 renewal fee, and a copy of the current business license are necessary.

Inspection:

Providers must undergo an annual inspection by the local fire authority to renew their childcare license. This inspection ensures that childcare facilities comply with state regulations.

Closing Thoughts:

Although obtaining licensing for your daycare facility may be a lengthy process, it offers significant benefits and safeguards for your childcare business. Possessing a licensed daycare facility demonstrates to the Utah Department of Health and Human Services and the local community that you are a dependable childcare provider committed to delivering safe, high-quality childcare services to the children in your area.

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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