Getting licensed to operate a home day care in Illinois doesn't cost anything, but there are quite a few stipulations that must be met. Then you have to remain in compliance with the Illinois Child Care Act of 1969, the Child's Product Safety Act, the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, and the Facilities Requiring Smoke Detectors Act. The license is valid for 3 years at a time and cannot be transferred to another person or location.
Licensed day care homes in Illinois are allowed to service no more than eight children under the age of 12 years. No more than six of the children can be under age 5, and only two can be under 30 months. If, however, there are no more than five children under age 5, the day care can serve up to three babies under 24 months. The maximum number of children on the premises cannot be exceeded. In other words, the day care provider's own children count towards the maximum. School-aged children may also be cared for in the day care home on holidays, weekends or on other days when school is closed. They can be cared for before and after school hours as well.
The area in the day care home where they children are cared for must be big enough to allow 35 square feet per child unless the children are expected to sleep and play in the same area. Then, unless the children sleep on cots or mats which are removed from the area after nap time, an additional 20 square feet of "floor space" must be provided for each child. Outdoor playing space must also be available in a yard or public park.
Before the day care home can obtain its license, a state official will do an inspection of the premises. There must be covered electrical outlets, smoke detectors, a first aid kit and a kitchen fire extinguisher. If any pets live in the home, proof of their vaccinations and arrangements to enclose them must be demonstrated. If the day care will be provided in a basement, it must have two working exits. A written hazard plan must be reviewed that even lists the neighborhood dogs. A passed fire inspection report must also be obtained.
The main day care home provider has to be certified in CPR. She must get written recommendations from three adults who are not relatives. They have to speak to her character and ability to provide child care. All the people who assist with providing child care in the day care home must sign authorizations for background checks to be conducted on them to make sure that there is no criminal record that would endanger the children in the day care.
The application for an Illinois day care home license must be signed and dated. It also has to list all the people who will be on staff and who are over age 13. Once the inspections have been completed and the day care home begins to operate, the day care home has to maintain an informal family atmosphere. Records, permission slips, and permission to administer any medications must be on file. Day care may be provided for a maximum of 18 hours per day.
Lesley Barker, director of the Bolduc House Museum, authored the books "St. Louis Gateway Rail—The 1970s," published by Arcadia, and the "Eye Can Too! Read" series of vision-related e-books. Her articles have appeared in print and online since the 1980s. Barker holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Washington University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Webster University.