An in-home daycare can be a great business for someone who enjoys looking after kids and has children of their own they need to care for during the day. Plenty of space and patience also come in handy. Before you start an in-home daycare in Colorado, you need to know the licensing laws, because caring for someone else's kids is a big responsibility wherever you do it.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
If you provide in-home daycare to more than four unrelated children in Colorado, you need a license. You must also meet several other requirements and complete pre-licensing training to ensure you can meet the needs of the children you care for.
Number of Children
In-home daycare in Colorado must be licensed when the care provider is looking after more than four unrelated children. "Unrelated" means not directly related to the caregiver by blood, marriage or adoption. Additionally, no more than two of the four children may be younger than 2 years. There are no Colorado "babysitting laws" as such, in that if you occasionally care for children (with or without compensation) with no regularity or set pattern, you don't need a license.
Types of Licence
A "three under two" license allows a provider to care for six children from birth to 18 years with no more than three children under 2 years, and with no more than two of the three children under 12 months. The provider's own children under 12 years are included in this total.
An infant/toddler license is a type of family care home that provides less than 24-hour care for children who are between birth and three years. To get an infant/toddler license, a provider must be at least 21 years old and have completed one year of supervised experience caring for children who are younger than 3 years old, for example, at a Colorado licensed family child care home, military licensed child care home or licensed child care center in an infant/toddler program Written verification of this experience must be submitted with the application.
Pre-License Training Requirements
To get a license, the care provider must complete 15 hours of training on a State Department approved course, including nine core knowledge standards, one of which must address appropriate guidance and discipline practices (corporal punishment is strictly prohibited). The provider must pass a written test at the end of the training course with a score of 80 percent or higher.
The provider must also train in standard occupational health and safety administration requirements, First Aid and CPR training for children to 21 years, the State Department-approved training for medication administration, and a building and physical premises training, which must include identification of all hazards that could cause injury to kids.
To get a Colorado daycare license, submit a completed Original Application for a Family Child Care Home, together with the appropriate fee, to the Division of Early Care and Learning at least 60 days before the date you intend to start to provide care.
The fee for an original application for in-home daycare services for up to six children is $35 in 2018, $55 in 2019 and $65 in 2020 and beyond. For seven to 12 children, the fee is $55 in 2018, $75 in 2019 and $100 in 2020 and beyond. The same fee is payable each year to continue the license, no less than 60 days before the anniversary date of the license. The provider and all persons living in the home must also submit a health evaluation, signed and dated by a health professional, a photo copy of their driver's license or Colorado Identification Card and completed fingerprint card.
Licensed family child care homes enrolling children 5 years of age or younger must join Colorado Shines, the state quality rating and improvement system.
Under the Colorado Human Services Code, an in-home daycare provider is exempt from a criminal record check unless she cares for a child whose care is funded in whole or in part by the publicly funded Colorado Child Care Assistance Program. An application for an in-home daycare provider does not require an inspection (and subsequent inspection report) from the local health department, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, or the local fire department.