Child Care Licensing Legislation & Regulation

September 14, 2012

The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently ran an investigatory series on safety concerns in home-based child care. The series reported child deaths in home day cares doubled in the past five years; and, that the vast majority of deaths occur in licensed home day cares. The articles  spurred the state to explore tightening regulations surrounding home child care in Minnesota . Recommendations include increasing public availability of inspection data, and reducing the minimum adult-child ratios where infants and toddlers are present.

Statutory or Regulatory Surveys offer a nice place to see where current statutes and regulations are located.  I ran the following plain language search in the 50 State Statutory Surveys on WestlawNext:


The initial 10 results include these two results:

SURVEYS, Child Care Licensing Requirements: Providers, 0015 SURVEYS 5

SURVEYS, Child Care Licensing Requirements: Facilities, 0015 SURVEYS 4

Regulatory Surveys offer similar results:

REGSURVEYS, Child Care Licensing Requirements: Providers, 0020 REGSURVEYS 2

REGSURVEYS, Child Care Licensing Requirements: Facilities, 0020 REGSURVEYS 1

Proposed and Enacted Legislation

Clicking on “Proposed & Enacted Legislation” and setting my jurisdiction to all state and federal materials again, I ran the following search:


We get a lot of results (3,404) on the day I ran the search, but that makes sense, considering the breadth of this search.  Use the Status Filters on the left side of the screen to bring our results down to just Enacted Legislation (160 results).

In the initial Enacted Legislation results, we see the following:

Legislation regarding exemption of certain public recreation programs from child care licensure in California. LICENSES AND PERMITS–CHILD CARE –EXEMPTIONS, 2012 Cal. Legis. Serv. Ch. 122 (A.B. 1991) (WEST)

Legislation adding language to existing statutes in North Dakota that provide for suspension of child care providers licenses in circumstances involving child abuse or neglect determinations or investigations, as well as language allowing parental notification in such scenarios. CHILD CARE–LICENSES AND PERMITS–CHILD ABUSE, 2011 North Dakota Laws Ch. 360 (H.B. 1085)

Legislation requiring early educator certification among child care providers and staff in North Carolina. CHILDREN–EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION PROVIDERS–CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS, 2010 North Carolina Laws S.L. 2010-178 (S.B. 1119)

There are similar results in Proposed & Adopted Regulations with the same search (3,134). A glance at the first few results shows:

An adopted Illinois regulation providing for a conditional license for certain licensees who have not maintained compliance with standards, but are “deemed deserving of another chance.” 2012 IL REG TEXT 287089 (NS).

A final regulation from Delaware adopting revisions to regulations affecting family child care homes and providers. 2008 DE REG TEXT 111982 (NS).


One of the primary issues brought up by the Star Tribune articles was appropriate staffing ratios. Many situations where child death occurred, there was an over-fill issue – too many kids and too few adults. I decided to try another search, looking for any reference to “ratio.”


There are 138 Proposed and Enacted Legislation results with that search, 5 of which were Enacted Legislation. Those results included:

Louisiana legislation that provides for penalties, and corrective action in circumstances where licensing regulations have been violated, including child-staff ratio violations. CHILD CARE FACILITIES AND CHILD–PLACING AGENCIES, 2012 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 599 (H.B. 861) (WEST)

North Carolina legislation requiring minimum ages for child care center administrators and staff. Staff counted towards the minimum staff-child ratio must be at least 16 years old. CHILD CARE –RULES AND REGULATIONS, 2012 North Carolina Laws S.L. 2012-160 (H.B. 737)

And a search in Proposed and Adopted Regulations with that same search brings back 449 results. In the initial results, we see proposed and adopted rules like the following:

Proposed licensure rules for drop-in, center, and family child care in Tennessee, including regulations regarding adult-child ratios. 2010 TN REG TEXT 239022 (NS)

Notices of Emergency Rulemaking in North Dakota regarding staffing requirements in group child care. 2012 ND REG TEXT 297094 (NS)

There is no shortage of legislation and regulation on this issue, and changes, or attempts to change, occur frequently. Clearly the issue is not confined to Minnesota.  In News simply try,

day care deaths