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Licensed Daycare in Kansas
Licensing Required for All Home Daycares in Kansas
As of 2011, all childcare providers in Kansas must go through the licensing process. The only exceptions to this rule are if you are watching family members or if your total childcare hours are less than twenty a week. This is a direct result of Lexie's Law, which is now in effect.
The best way to begin is to contact your County Health Department or visit their website. Our County Health Department has an online application process and a packet of information you can download. The packet includes a checklist of items you will need to complete prior to your inspection.
One of the first items you will need to check off is your orientation. The local health department holds orientation classes on a regular basis and all prospective childcare providers are required to attend one of these classes. During this class, they will explain the application procedure and what to expect during your initial inspection.
After you have filled out your application, which will include an authorization for the KBI to conduct background checks on all members of your household over the age of ten years and anyone working with the kids, you should immediately begin preparing for the licensing inspector.
Fire Department Inspection
Contact your local Fire Department as soon as you submit your application for licensing. The local Fire Inspector will come to your home and determine that it meets all the requirements for licensing.
1. You will need hard-wired smoke detectors or smoke detectors with lithium batteries on all levels of your home. A smoke detector must be in any room where the children will be sleeping.
2. There must be two avenues of escape from any floor being used and all doors and stairs must be unobstructed.
3. Check around your furnace and water heater to make sure there is clearance on all sides.
4. All interior locking-doorknobs must be able to be opened from the outside.
5. House numbers must be visible from the street and a minimum of 6 inches tall.
6. A copy of your "Fire Escape Plan" and "Tornado Plan" must be posted.
7. A fire extinguisher is required.
Preparing Your Home for Inspection
In the packet from the County Health Department, you will find a checklist of items that need to be inspected prior to opening your daycare. Go through the list carefully! There are regulations for almost every item in your home. Some to consider are:
- All sharp knives and serrated edges (such as boxes of aluminum foil) must be 5 feet off the floor.
- Cooking spray and all other items that carry a "Child Warning Label" must also be over 5 feet from the floor.
- Any set of stairs that is over two-steps high must have a railing.
- There must be a locked-box on the premises to hold any medicines brought by the kids.
- No trampolines.
- There must be paper towels in the bathrooms or separate towels for each child.
- Emergency plans for tornado, fire, and lock-down must be on file.
- Proper bedding and toys must be available for all ages of children.
- You must be CPR/First Aid certified and have 15 hours of training classes.
These are only a sample of some of the items your inspector will check before your license can be approved. During the initial visit, any problems are noted and you are allowed 14 days to make the corrections before a re-inspection occurs. All infractions are noted in a public database and will remain visible for the life-time of the business.
All licensed daycares must have the following policies on file:
- Tornado and Fire Safety Plans
- Emergency Plan
- Discipline Policy
- Supervision Policy
Tornado and Fire Safety Plans
These are a detailed explanation of where everyone will go in the event of a tornado or fire. Detailed drawings are required showing your floor plan and the location of your "meeting place".
The emergency plan must be displayed in a prominent place and list the contact numbers for fire, police, medical emergency, child abuse, poison control, and the children's parents. A written policy should be included that details who will or will not be allowed into the house during a lock-down in the community.
Discipline methods are limited and should be age appropriate. You need to detail each age group and the steps you will use in the event of bad behavior. Your Discipline Policy might read as follows:
Infants - None
- "NO" in a firm voice and redirection if they are doing something dangerous such as playing with cords, going near the street, hitting other children, etc.
2 yrs and Up:
- Ask them to stop the behavior
- Warn them that a time-out will occur if the behavior occurs again.
- Time-out in a chair facing the wall for the same number of minutes that the child is in years.
If your child receives a time-out you will be notified and we can discuss the best way to handle the behavior.
This policy basically describes all the areas of your home or facility and what they will be used for, who will be in them, and how the children will be supervised during their time there. Include both inside and outside areas.
Other Policies to Keep on Hand
Not required by the state, but definitely advantageous to have on hand are:
- Sick Policy
- Daily Schedule
- Safe-Sleep Requirements
- Immunization Requirements
There are a lot of hoops to jump through in order to become a licensed daycare in the state of Kansas. These regulations have resulted in Kansas skyrocketing to the top of the list of best states for childcare safety.
The positive in all of this for providers is that along with the rise in care standards, came a rise in fees charged for watching each child. Income for a good home daycare provider in Kansas can realistically be expected to be in the neighborhood of $70,000/year if you are near capacity. Tax deductions reduce your income to very little and most of that money is tax free.