How to Start a Daycare in West Virginia

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Starting a daycare in West Virginia requires thorough planning and adherence to state regulations.

  • Begin by conducting extensive research on the licensing requirements outlined by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) to ensure compliance.
  • Develop a comprehensive business plan outlining your daycare’s mission, target market, services offered, and financial projections.
  • Secure a suitable location for your daycare facility, ensuring it meets zoning requirements and provides ample space for children to play and learn safely.
  • Obtain necessary permits and licenses from the DHHR and local authorities.
  • Hire qualified staff trained in early childhood education and CPR/First Aid certification.
  • Create a stimulating and nurturing environment for children, equipped with age-appropriate toys, educational materials, and safety measures.
  • Establish policies and procedures regarding health, safety, discipline, and communication with parents.
  • Market your daycare through local advertising, a com listing, community outreach, and social media to attract families in need of childcare services.

Continuously evaluate and improve your daycare operations to provide the best possible care for children in West Virginia.

Do I need a childcare license in West Virginia?

Opening a childcare center entails more than just selecting the ideal name and location. It also involves determining the most suitable type of childcare license for your business. Understanding the type of childcare facility you intend to establish can assist in developing your business plan and effectively marketing your daycare to families in your community who could benefit from your offerings.

Licensing is mandatory for four categories of childcare programs in West Virginia:

  • Childcare Centers: These centers offer care for 13 or more children.
  • Family Child Care Facilities: Family child care facilities operate in a provider’s home and provide care for seven to 12 children, including those under six who reside in the home.
  • Family Child Care Homes: These homes provide care for up to six children, including those under six who live in the provider’s home.
  • Informal or Relative Family Child Care Homes: These types of homes offer care for up to three children under 13 years old in the provider’s home, including those under six who reside there.

Childcare licensing is not required for the following programs in West Virginia:

  • Preschool programs operated by a county Board of Education within a public school setting.
  • Day camps.
  • Individuals providing occasional care for a neighbor’s, relative’s, or friend’s child.
  • Individuals offering care exclusively for children who are relatives.

Childcare licensing requirements in West Virginia

Prior to establishing a daycare center in West Virginia, all programs are required to meet the licensing and training criteria set forth by the Department of Health and Human Resources to obtain a childcare license.

All personnel and volunteers at childcare facilities must undergo pre-service training, as well as training in first aid, CPR, and child abuse and neglect, before they are permitted to supervise children.

The Department of Health and Human Resources mandates that childcare facilities maintain up-to-date records for all staff members and children.

daycare in West Virginia

Requirements for licensing childcare centers:

Childcare centers need to fulfill particular licensing prerequisites before they can obtain their license.

All personnel included in a childcare center’s staff-to-child ratio must enroll in the West Virginia State Training and Registry System (WV STARS) prior to supervising children. WV STARS offers training and professional development opportunities to early childhood education professionals and childcare providers.

Each staff member is required to:

  • Undergo a health assessment and tuberculin risk assessment, which must be updated every two years.
  • Complete a background check.
  • Provide two positive written references.
  • Submit documentation verifying their

Qualifications for Directors:

A childcare center director must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Possess at least one year of pertinent work experience
  • Hold a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent

For Type I centers (serving up to 30 children), a director must satisfy one of the following conditions:

  • Possess a CDA credential along with 300 hours of relevant work experience with young children
  • Acquire twelve (12) college credits in an early care and education field along with 300 hours of relevant work experience with young children
  • Accumulate a total of ten (10) years of relevant work experience

Ratio Requirements:

Childcare centers must adhere to the following staff-to-child ratios:

 

Age of children Staff-to-child ratio Maximum group size
6 weeks – 12 months 1:4 8
13 months – 24 months 1:4 12
2 years (25 – 35 months) 1:8 16
3 years (36 – 47 months) 1:10 20
4 years (48 – 59 months) 1:12 24
5 years (60 months) – school age 1:12 24
School age 1:16 32

 

 

Requirements for Licensing Family Child Care Facilities:

Before obtaining a license, family child care facilities must fulfill specific licensing requirements.

Every staff member, volunteer aged 18 or above, and household member aged 18 or above must undergo a background check.

All staff members directly involved with children must:

  • Undergo a physical examination and a tuberculin risk assessment, updated every two years.
  • Provide two positive written references.
  • Submit documentation of their credentials.

Provider Qualifications:

  • Operators of family child care facilities must:
  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Possess a General Education Development (GED) certificate or a high school diploma.
  • Have 6 months of experience in caring for children in a licensed child care center or family child care facility, registered family care home, Head Start, or other early childhood or school-age child care program.
  • Hold certification in pediatric CPR and first aid.
  • Complete training in child abuse recognition and prevention.
  • Complete medication administration training.
  • Complete approved pre-service training and undergo at least 15 clock hours of approved training annually.

daycare in West Virginia

Ratio Requirements:

A family child care facility must have two staff members present to provide care and supervision if the facility cares for more than two children under 24 months of age or more than six children simultaneously.

When calculating the ratio between staff members and children, all children aged 12 and under who are present and under care in the facility must be included, including the director’s child, staff members’ children, and children of friends of the child.

Registration Requirements for Family Child Care Homes:

Family child care home providers are also required to comply with particular regulations.

Provider Requirements:

All personnel directly engaging with children must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Demonstrate literacy skills.
  • Undergo a medical examination and tuberculosis risk assessment, TB skin test, or chest x-ray within 30 days of registration application.
  • Complete the mandatory training within three months of applying for registration and undertake eight hours of training annually.
  • Successfully complete approved training in pediatric CPR and first aid.
  • Submit fingerprints for state and federal criminal history background checks.

Capacity Regulations:

A family child care home may accommodate a maximum of six children under the age of 13 at any given time, with no more than two of these children being under 24 months old.

The count of children in the family child care home encompasses:

  • Children under six years old residing in the home.
  • Unaccompanied children under six years old who are visiting.

Childcare License Application in West Virginia:

Whether establishing a childcare center or commencing a home-based preschool, completion of the license application process is mandatory.

Application Process for Childcare Center Licensing:

Follow these steps to apply for a childcare center license:

Step 1: Review Regulatory Guidelines

Thoroughly review the childcare center information packet and licensing regulations provided by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR).

Step 2: Contact Licensing Specialist and Local Authorities

Reach out to your county’s licensing specialist, as well as the Office of the State Fire Marshal and your local health department. These entities will conduct inspections of your childcare program location to ensure compliance with state regulations.

Step 3: Complete Necessary Documentation

Prepare emergency disaster and evacuation plans for your facility, along with a Needs Assessment and Letter of Intent form. Send the completed Needs Assessment and Letter of Intent form via mail to WV DHHR BCF, Division of Early Care and Education, Child Care Regulation Unit at 350 Capitol Street, Room B-18, Charleston, WV 25301.

Upon receipt of your Letter of Intent, a licensing specialist from the Department of Health and Human Resources will review it. Subsequently, they will provide you with an Initial Application for a Certificate of License or Approval to Operate a Child Care Center.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

Mail your completed application and any additional required documentation to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Early Care and Education at 350 Capital Street, Room B-18, Charleston, WV 25301.

There is no processing fee for your initial childcare center licensing application. However, it may take up to 60 days for the Department of Health and Human Resources to assess your application and conduct the final inspection of your facility upon receipt of your completed application.

daycare in West Virginia

Application Process for Family Child Care Home Registration:

To complete your family child care home registration application, follow these steps:

Step 1: Review Regulatory Guidelines

Carefully review the family child care home information packet and registration requirements provided by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR).

Step 2: Contact Local Regulatory Specialist

Reach out to a regulatory specialist in your area and your county’s Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agency. The regulatory specialist will ensure your home meets spatial requirements and assist you in obtaining an initial application from the Department of Health and Human Resources. Your local CCR&R agency will provide training assistance and facilitate connections with families seeking child care services.

Step 3: Develop an Emergency Plan

Create comprehensive emergency disaster and evacuation plans tailored to your family child care home.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

Mail your initial application along with the required documentation to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Early Care & Education at 350 Capitol Street, Room B-18, Charleston, WV 25301.

There is no processing fee for your initial family child care home registration application. However, please note that it may take up to 60 days for the Department of Health and Human Resources to review your application and conduct the final inspection of your facility upon receipt of your completed application.

How to stay compliant with a daycare license in West Virginia

Upon obtaining the suitable license for your childcare program, you are obligated to adhere to the regulations outlined by the Department of Health and Human Resources. This involves undergoing annual inspections and ensuring timely renewal of your license.

License Renewal for Childcare Centers:

A childcare center license remains valid for two years from its issuance date. To renew your license, you must submit an application at least 60 days prior to the expiration of your current license.

To initiate the renewal process for your childcare center license, reach out to the licensing specialist designated for your county.

Renewal Process for Family Child Care Facility Licenses:

The validity period of a family child care facility license spans two years from its issuance date. To ensure continuous licensure, you must submit a renewal application at least 60 days prior to the expiration of your current license.

To proceed with the renewal of your family child care facility license:

  • Complete the renewal application form.
  • Submit your renewal application along with supplemental documentation, which should include records of approved training attended within the preceding two years, to the Department of Health and Human Resources.

Start a daycare in West Virginia

Initiating the process of obtaining a childcare license demonstrates to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources your commitment to providing quality care for the children within your community. Through meticulous planning and effective organization, you are poised to embark on a journey of enriching children’s lives by offering a secure and nurturing childcare environment.

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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