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Questions about Child Care
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  1. Do I have to be licensed to care for children in my home?
  2. Is there a limit on how many children I can take in?
  3. Are my children counted in the number of children allowed in my home?
  4. As a home child care provider, can I have pets in my home?
  5. What are the different types of child care licensing?
  6. Do I need any kind of special inspections, i.e., fire or home inspections?
  7. Do you charge for licensing?
  8. How long does it take to get a license?
  9. What are the licensing procedures?
  10. What are the requirements for providing child care?
  11. Do I have to notify your department every time a child comes or leaves my care?
  12. Is there a limit on how much I can charge per child?
  13. Who is responsible for placing the children in my home?
  14. Does DCYF provide referrals for people who need child care?
  15. Is there any training available for child care license providers?
  16. Where can I get more information?
  17. Who do I call if I have a complaint about a child care provider?

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1. Do I have to be licensed to care for children in my home?

If you are going to care for more than three (3) children who are unrelated to you either as children or grandchildren, you are required to contact the department and obtain a license.

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2. Is there a limit on how many children I can take in?

Yes.  If you are certified as a Child Care Home Provider, the maximum number of children you are allowed to care for is 8 with an assistant; if you are caring for the children alone, the maximum number of children is 6.  If you are licensed as a Group Child Care Home Provider, the maximum number of children is 12 with at least one assistant.  You can not be licensed as a Group Child Care Home Provider without an assistant.

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3. Are my children counted in the number of children allowed in my home?

Yes, your children under the age of six years are counted and if you have more than two children between six and twelve years, those children would also be counted.

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4. As a home child care provider, can I have pets in my home?

Yes, as long as they are kept in a safe, sanitary manner and be up to date on rabies vaccinations, if applicable.

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5. What are the different types of child care licensing?

There are a number of different license categories:

Regulations will vary depending on the type of license and type of service (i.e., infant, toddler, pre-school or school-age)  provided for each.

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6. Do I need any kind of special inspections, i.e., fire or home inspections?

Yes. When you apply for home child care certification or a group child care home license, we will be requesting a fire inspection of your home. You will have to arrange to have your home inspected for radon. A social worker from the child care licensing unit will also be coming out to your home to make sure that it is in compliance with the regulations.

If you are applying for a child care center license, the social worker will inform you as to what inspections are required.

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7. Do you charge for licensing?

Please read the memo from the Licensing Division regarding applications fees. 

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8. How long does it take to get a license?

Child Care Homes generally take two to three months to go through the certification/licensing process; Child Care Centers may take a longer time, depending on the status of their building and staff.

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9. What are the licensing procedures?

Child Care Home: You must attend a 3 hour orientation in order to receive the application materials. When your completed application is received, we will send for screenings through the Attorney General’s Office, Division of Criminal Identification, and the Child Abuse and Neglect Division of DCYF. We also will send for a fire inspection of your home. After we receive clearance from the screenings and approval from the fire inspector, you will be assigned to a social worker for a home visit. During the home visit the social worker will review the regulations to make sure that you are in compliance and will then make a recommendation for certification or licensing.

Child Care Center: After reviewing the regulations and locating an appropriate building or site, you will be assigned to a social worker who will review plans for new construction or renovations to an existing building and will work closely with you throughout the licensing process. An application for a license is filed when the building has been brought into compliance with all the applicable codes. Upon receipt of a complete application which includes information on staff and program, as well as inspection approvals on the building, the social worker will make a site visit to determine compliance before the license is issued.

NOTE:  Please read the memo from the Licensing Division regarding fees for applications. 

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10. What are the requirements for providing child care?

Child Care Home:

Group Family Child Care Homes

Child Care Center:

*For a copy of the Regulations For Certification or Licensure, please call (401) 528-3624 or (401) 528-3621.

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11. Do I have to notify your department every time a child comes or leaves my care?

No.  You just need to stay within the guidelines allowed by your certification or license.  

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12. Is there a limit on how much I can charge per child?

No.  The Department does not regulate the cost of care.  However, if you are caring for a child who is being paid for by a state agency, you must accept the rate the agency provides.

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13. Who is responsible for placing the children in my home?

The children you are providing child care services for can be referred by family, friends, relatives, neighbors or word-of-mouth.  The DCYF is licensing or certifying you to provide child care as a business and it is your responsibility to obtain clientele.  

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14. Does DCYF provide referrals for people who need child care?

No, but you can call BrightStars which is a state-wide resource and referral service at (401) 398-7605 or toll-free 1-855-398-7605.

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15. Is there any training available for certified/licensed child care providers?

Yes. There are many training opportunities for child care providers. For more information on available training, you may contact Ready 2 Learn Providence, Rhode Island professional development and training agency at (401)490-9960

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16. Where can I get more information?

Contact the Child Care Licensing Unit by either writing us at:

Child Care Licensing Unit
DCYF
101 Friendship Street
Providence, RI 02903

or call us at 401-528-3624.  We would be happy to provide you with more information.  

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17. Who do I call if I have a complaint about a child care provider?

If the complaint involves child abuse or neglect, you must call the child abuse hotline at 1-800-RICHILD. If the complaint is about licensing issues, you may call the Child Care Licensing Unit at (401) 528-3624 or (401) 528-3621.

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Questions or Comments?    Please e-mail Webmaster  
DCYF, 101 Friendship Street, Providence, RI 02903-3716  **(401) 528-3502
Report child abuse or neglect.  Call the Hotline at 1-800-RI-CHILD   (1-800-742-4453)

     All content © 2006 DCYF -- Last modified: Feb 21, 2014