How to Start a Daycare in Wyoming

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To start a daycare in Wyoming:

  • Begin by researching the state’s regulations and licensing requirements for childcare facilities. Familiarize yourself with the Wyoming Department of Family Services’ guidelines for operating a daycare, including staff-to-child ratios, safety standards, and facility requirements.
  • Develop a comprehensive business plan outlining your daycare’s mission, services offered, target market, and financial projections.
  • Secure suitable premises that comply with zoning laws and meet safety standards, ensuring adequate indoor and outdoor space for children to play and learn.
  • Hire qualified staff who meet the state’s educational and background check requirements, and consider obtaining certifications in early childhood education.
  • Obtain the necessary permits and licenses, including a childcare license from the state. Establish policies and procedures for enrollment, health and safety protocols, and emergency procedures.
  • Finally, market your daycare to families in your community through advertising, a com listing, networking with local schools and community organizations, and creating a welcoming and nurturing environment for children and their families.

Do I need a childcare license in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, obtaining a childcare license is mandatory if your intention is to supervise more than two children not related to you. The Wyoming Department of Family Services oversees the issuance of childcare licenses and grants approvals for various types of childcare arrangements:

Family Child Care Home (FCCH): Offers care for three to ten children within your residence without additional staff.

Family Child Care Center (FCCC): Provides care for a maximum of 15 children either in your home or another designated facility, with one additional staff member required when more than 10 children are present.

Child Care Center (CCC): Provides care for 16 or more children, necessitating sufficient staff to meet the prescribed staff-to-child ratio requirements. These centers cannot be situated within an individual’s residence.

Certain exemptions from childcare licensing exist, including:

  • Occasional care of a friend’s or neighbor’s child, provided it is not a regular occurrence.
  • Childcare provided by a legal parent or relative.
  • Care provided by an employee within the home of a parent or guardian.
  • Cooperative childcare arrangements among parents.
  • Childcare facilities supervising a maximum of two unrelated children.
  • Childcare facilities under the supervision of state, local government, school district, agency, or political subdivision.

Operating a childcare facility without the requisite license is considered unlawful unless exempted. If uncertain about whether you qualify for an exemption, it’s advisable to contact the childcare licensing personnel in your county for clarification.

Daycare in Wyoming

Childcare licensing requirements in Wyoming

Before commencing operations of a daycare center, it is imperative that your program fulfills all state licensing prerequisites.

Requirements for Owner, Director, and Staff:

Prior to assuming childcare responsibilities, the director and all staff must meet the following general criteria:

  • All staff and household members are required to undergo a tuberculosis (TB) risk assessment before employment.
  • Each adult staff member and household member must undergo a Central Registry of Abuse and Neglect check in Wyoming and all states of residence for the past five years. This check also extends to any adult intending to reside in the home.
  • Completion of a National Sex Offender Registry check and a Wyoming Sex Offender Registry check, along with checks for each state of residence for the past five years, is mandatory for all staff and household members. Any individual identified as a registered sex offender is prohibited from employment or presence within the facility.
  • All staff and household members must complete a comprehensive fingerprint-based national background check and a Wyoming Criminal Records check, in addition to checks for each state of residence for the past five years. Moreover, individuals with a criminal record or pending deferred prosecution of a felony or misdemeanor are ineligible for employment or presence within the facility.

Specific Requirements for Owner and Staff of a Family Child Care Home:

  • The owner must be 18 years old and physically and mentally capable of caring for children.
  • Possession of a high school diploma or equivalent certificate is required for the owner, or documentation demonstrating at least three months of supervised work experience or education in caring for children other than their own.
    • Completion of six training credits of child care training, along with pre-service training before licensing, is mandatory.
    • A professional credential from a department-recognized organization is necessary.
    • The owner must be onsite and available in the facility for at least 75% of the working week, unless exceptions are granted by the licenser for valid reasons.
  • In the owner’s absence, a qualified adult staff member with sufficient knowledge and training in facility operations and decision-making authority must be present.
  • Maintenance of all required records and reports onsite is the responsibility of the owner.

Specific Requirements for Director/Assistant Director and Staff of a Family Child Care Center:

The director must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or an equivalent certificate
  • Have the following education and experience:
    • Any combination of education and experience equivalent to one year in the areas of early childhood management or early childhood education, child development, nursing, or other related fields
    • Six clock hours of childcare training in addition to pre-service training before licensing
    • A professional credential from an organization recognized by the department
  • Ensure all records and reports required are maintained onsite
  • Meet all training requirements
  • Be onsite and available for at least 50% of the operating week unless given an exception by the licenser for a good cause

The director requirements for a Child Care Center closely mirror those of the Family Child Care Center, with the exception that the director of a Child Care Center must possess a combination of education and experience equivalent to two years (as opposed to one) in the fields of early childhood management or education, child development, nursing, or related disciplines.

Both for a Family Child Care Center and a Child Care Center, the presence of an assistant director is mandatory whenever the director is absent from the premises. In the event of the director’s departure from employment, the assistant director assumes responsibility until a replacement director is hired. The provider is obligated to promptly inform Child Care Licensing of such changes and must recruit a new director within a reasonable timeframe, typically within three months. While the assistant director isn’t required to meet the director’s qualifications, they must:

  • Be a minimum of 18 years old.
  • Possess a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • Demonstrate six months of full-time experience in licensed or legally exempt childcare, or have completed 15 hours of approved training, including orientation.
  • Possess sufficient knowledge and training in facility operations and decision-making authority to assume the director’s responsibilities during their absence.
  • Fulfill all training prerequisites.

Capacity and supervision requirements:

The maximum capacity for a Family Child Care Home is set at 10 children, while for a Family Child Care Center, it is 15 children. This count encompasses the owner’s own infants, toddlers, and/or children aged three to five. However, the owner’s children who are six years or older, have completed kindergarten, or are in first grade or above are not counted towards the licensed capacity.

A Child Care Center has a capacity of 16 children or more. The licensing authority will assess the facility’s capacity based on individual room limitations. These room capacities must be clearly posted in each respective room and must never be exceeded. The total capacity includes all children, encompassing infants, toddlers, school-age children, and children affiliated with staff members.

Staff-to-child ratio requirements:

Here are the staff-to-child ratio guidelines for childcare establishments in Wyoming:

Birth to 12 months: One staff member for every four children (1:4), two staff members for every eight children (2:8), and three staff members for every 10 children (3:10), with a maximum group size of 10 children.

12 months to 24 months: One staff member for every five children (1:5), two staff members for every 10 children (2:10), and three staff members for every 12 children (3:12), with a maximum group size of 12 children.

24 months to 36 months: One staff member for every eight children (1:8), two staff members for every 16 children (2:16), and three staff members for every 18 children (3:18), with a maximum group size of 18 children.

Three-year-olds: One staff member for every 10 children (1:10), two staff members for every 20 children (2:20), and three staff members for every 24 children (3:24), with a maximum group size of 24 children.

Four and five-year-olds: One staff member for every 12 children (1:12), two staff members for every 24 children (2:24), and three staff members for every 30 children (3:30), with a maximum group size of 30 children.

School-age and older: One staff member for every 18 children (1:18), two staff members for every 32 children (2:32), and three staff members for every 40 children (3:40), with a maximum group size of 40 children.

Daycare in Wyoming

Training requirements:

Prior to license issuance, both the owner/director and all staff members are mandated to complete pre-service training, encompassing the following areas:

  • Fire safety protocols, including building and physical premises safety.
  • Emergency preparedness and procedures for disaster planning.
  • Sanitation protocols, covering the handling and storage of hazardous materials.
  • Medication administration (if applicable; not required if the program does not administer medication).
  • First aid (FA) and pediatric and adult cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), including in-person skills demonstration conducted by a certified instructor.
  • Training on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (if applicable; not required if the program does not cater to infants).
  • Measures for infectious disease control, including blood-borne pathogens.
  • Implementation of safe sleep practices (if applicable; not required if the program does not care for infants).
  • Understanding mandatory reporting procedures for recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse or neglect.
  • Education on shaken baby syndrome (if applicable; not essential if the program does not care for infants).
  • Transportation safety guidelines (if applicable; not necessary if the program does not transport children).
  • Training regarding food allergies and nutrition.

Staff members responsible for the care of infants or toddlers must undergo a minimum of four hours of specialized training specifically tailored to infant or toddler care every two years. In instances where four or more infants are under care:

  • A minimum of one staff member directly involved in the care of infants or toddlers must complete at least eight training credits of specialized infant or toddler care training every two years.
  • Additionally, one staff member is required to hold the Infant/Toddler Director Credential.

Individuals providing direct care to children for 24 hours or more per month or included in staff-to-child ratios are mandated to fulfill a minimum of 32 training credits within a two-year period from the licensing date. Directors are obligated to meet all training prerequisites irrespective of the duration they supervise children.

Play space requirements:

The indoor area designated for children’s activities must provide a minimum of 35 square feet of usable play space per child consistently. Installation of indoor play equipment with a fall height exceeding 24 inches necessitates placement over a durable surface covering the appropriate usage zones. Resilient surfacing must be installed, maintained, and replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. In instances where manufacturer’s instructions are unavailable, adherence to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards is imperative.

Outdoor play space per child must encompass a minimum of 75 square feet, particularly when accommodating varying age groups. However, if your facility doesn’t offer care for more than four hours per day, outdoor play space is not obligatory. Nevertheless, should outdoor play space be utilized, it must adhere to licensing stipulations.

Childcare license application process in Wyoming:
Below are the steps to take when applying for a childcare license in Wyoming:

Step 1: Pre-service and provider training

Before assuming unsupervised direct care of children, all staff are required to complete pre-service training and facility orientation, either before their start date or within three months thereafter.

This training, facilitated by the Wyoming Statewide Training and Resource System (STARS), furnishes directors and staff with essential knowledge and skills for providing quality childcare. Facility orientation encompasses understanding Child Care Licensing Rules and familiarizing with facility policies and procedures.

Step 2: Complete the application

You can acquire the application either by downloading it or requesting it from the childcare licensor in your county. Along with the application form, you’ll need to submit various documents, including:

  • Fingerprint cover letter
  • Fingerprint card labels
  • Results of child abuse and neglect registry checks from Wyoming and any other states of residence within the past five years
  • Division of Criminal Intelligence (DCI) Waiver and Release form
  • Tuberculosis (TB) screening form
  • Local zoning approval documentation (if applicable)
  • Evidence of required training, education, or experience
  • Physician’s statement form, signed by a licensed healthcare professional, confirming your physical and mental capability to work with or around young children
  • Application fee of $50, payable by money order or check to the Department of Family Services
  • Additional documents may include sample forms for child records, attendance records, staff records, and an emergency preparedness plan.

Daycare in Wyoming

Step 3: Facility inspection

Upon submission of your application to the department, your facility will undergo scheduled inspections within 30 days, including childcare licensing, fire safety, and health and sanitation inspections.

Step 4: Await approval

After reviewing your program documents and inspection results for compliance with licensing regulations, the department will issue a license, which must be conspicuously displayed for public viewing. In some cases, a provisional license may be issued for a maximum of six months while compliance with licensing rules is monitored based on an approved corrective action plan.

The department reserves the right to grant a provisional license, valid for a maximum duration of six months, allowing the operation of your childcare business while your adherence to licensing regulations is under observation, contingent upon an approved corrective action plan.

How to stay compliant with a daycare license in Wyoming

Whether you’re managing a childcare center or initiating a home-based preschool, strict adherence to licensing regulations is imperative at all times. A childcare license remains valid for a duration of 12 months and necessitates renewal before its expiration date. To secure license renewal, you must initiate a renewal request and submit a renewal fee of $25, alongside demonstrating sustained compliance with the childcare licensing regulations.

The Wyoming Department of Family Services oversees childcare facilities through designated childcare licensors spread across the state, each responsible for overseeing programs within one or multiple counties. These licensors conduct at least one announced and unannounced visit to your facility annually. Moreover, they may schedule additional visits for follow-ups, technical support, monitoring of non-compliance, and investigation of complaints. Failure to adhere to licensing regulations may result in the revocation or suspension of your license by the department.

Starting a daycare in Wyoming:

Initiating a daycare venture in Wyoming begins with obtaining a childcare license, which serves as a fundamental initial step. Whether you’re establishing a home-based childcare operation or operating from a dedicated facility, it’s imperative to adhere to specific regulations and apply for the requisite license. Utilize the available state resources to navigate through the licensing process efficiently, enabling you to shift your focus towards advancing the subsequent stages of your business endeavor.

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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