Child Care Licensing 101


As increasing numbers of women have begun working outside the home, increasing numbers of parents are looking to their employers to provide assistance with the staggering cost of child care. A reported 90% of employees have left work due to family responsibilities. An additional 30% have cut their hours by 6 or more per week.1 In response, more employers are beginning to provide additional benefits to enhance their recruiting and retention efforts. These benefits often include parental leave and child-care assistance.


In Colorado, the agency responsible for licensing child-care providers is the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Early Childhood. The licensing requirements apply to a facility that cares for five or more children under the age of 18 who are unrelated to the owner. There are limited exemptions, including classes that are operated primarily for religious instruction, or that are operated in connection with a church, shopping center. However, these exemptions are limited, and will not apply to a majority of the employers seeking to operate a child-care facility.


The list of regulations is staggering, ranging from experience requirements for directors teachers, to facility size and sanitation requirements. The Department recommends that a complete application package be submitted at least 90 days before it seeks to begin operating. However, the process for determining compliance with the regulations must begin much earlier. These steps include formation of a Board of Directors, appointment of a Director for the facility, and inspections by the local fire department, Department of Health, and local zoning department.


Although this is a way in which a business can provide a much-needed service to its employees, this task should not be undertaken alone. Attorneys at Thomas N. Scheffel & Associates, P.C., stand ready to assist you in navigating the licensing.

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