The state of Georgia is experiencing a job rate growth right now, and the demand for good daycare is also growing because of it. If you live in Georgia and are thinking about opening a daycare, there are a few things you need to know first.
To open a daycare in Georgia you will need to know which type of daycare you are opening, attend the required orientation and training courses, complete the necessary inspections, and get an approved application from the state. If your daycare will be run out of a residential property, you will also need a letter from your HOA or leasing agency, a water or sewer bill, and a background check on every adult staying in the home.
There are three types of daycares that you can legally open in Georgia. A Family Child Care Learning Home (FCCLH) is one type, designed for no more than 6 children under the age of 18. A Group Day Child Care Learning Home (GDCCLH) is for between 7-18 children under the age of 18. And a Child Care Learning Center (CCLC) is for 19 or more children under the age of 18.
Family and Group Day Child Care Learning Home
The requirements for opening a Family Child Care Learning Home for six or fewer children, and a Group Day Child Care Learning Home for between seven to eighteen children are the same. In both cases, these daycares are run out of a residential home, rental property, or apartment.
When applying to open either of these types of daycare, several requirements need to be met and sent in with your application.
- Letter from HOA – If you live in a neighborhood with a Homeowner’s Association (HOA), you will need to obtain a letter from them approving your daycare to send in with your application.
- Lease Agreement – If you do not own the property you will be using for the daycare, you must send a copy of the leasing agreement, and written approval from your leasing agency, with your application.
- Criminal Background Check – You will also need to obtain a criminal background check on all persons over the age of 17 that reside in the home or property, and send that along with your application.
- Water or Sewer Bill – A copy of a water or sewer bill from the residence from within the past 12 months must also be sent in with your application.
There are also a variety of inspections that you must undergo before opening your daycare.
- Fire Inspection – Your county fire marshal must provide a fire inspection for your home or property where you will be opening your daycare. Proof of a passed inspection will usually be automatically sent to the state licensing agency, but you may need to provide a copy along with your application or other paperwork.
- State Inspection – A state inspector must also meet with you and approve your property for you to receive your permit. These inspections must then take place once a year for every year you are running your daycare (or sooner if there is a complaint that is filed with the state).
To open any daycare in the state of Georgia, you must first attend several training sessions determined by which type of daycare you are intending to open. Both Family and Group Day Childcare Learning Homes require the same amount of hours of training.
- A total of 20 hours of training, separated into 3 sessions, must be completed before you will receive a permit for your daycare.
- To maintain your permit, a total of 10 hours of training annually must be completed each year you operate the daycare.
- Adult/Infant First Aid and CPR – Each adult that works in the daycare must also complete a First Aid and CPR training course within 90 days of their employment. These requirements, specifically CPR certification, must typically be renewed every two years.
Child Care Learning Center
A Child Care Learning Center, or CCLC, is a daycare held in a commercial building, not a residential home. These are for 18 or more children and have differing requirements.
Learn more about licensing your business HERE!
Applying to open a Child Care Learning Center doesn’t require many of the things needed for a Family or Group Day Child Care Learning Home, such as letters from an HOA or a water bill, but it does have some specific requirements.
- Change of Ownership Papers – If buying a pre-existing daycare, you must file a change of ownership and include this with your application. Permits are not transferable, meaning that if you move your daycare to a new location, you will need to reapply.
- Lease Agreement – If renting a commercial space for a daycare, you will need to include a copy of the lease agreement along with your application. A letter from your rental agency may also be requested.
- Criminal Background Check – All employees must undergo a criminal background check. Along with the background check, all employees must also be fingerprinted. Background checks on all employees must also be done every five years since the original submission.
The Georgia Department of Early Child and Learning may also require a background check to be done on any employee whenever they request. In addition, if any employee has a lapse of employment for six or more months, they will require another background check.
Just like with a Family or Group Day Child Care Learning Home, a Child Care Learning Center requires:
- Fire Inspection – A fire marshal must inspect the building before the opening of the daycare, as well as maintain an annual inspection.
- State Inspection – A state inspector must also inspect the building before the opening of the daycare. Depending on the county, follow-up inspections will take place either every one or two years following the initial inspection, or whenever a complaint is made.
Just as with the other types of daycares, initial and follow-up training sessions must occur before the opening of the daycare, and each subsequent year.
- The owner (or director, if they are different) of the Child Care Learning Center must obtain 40 hours of training before opening their daycare. Typically, this is a one-week training session, but differing counties may vary their training course schedule.
- As with the other types of daycares in Georgia, a total of 10 hours of training must occur annually.
- Adult/Infant First Aid and CPR – The director, as well as 50% of the staff, must complete first aid and CPR training courses. There is a 90-day window after employment this must be done and requires a recertification every two years.
Orientation and Fees
No matter which type of daycare you choose to open, the Georgia Department of Early Child and Learning (DECAL), requires that all applicants obtain a licensing packet (one can be obtained from their website here) for the type of daycare they want to open.
They then require each applicant to attend a Licensure Orientation Meeting or LOM. Once the orientation meeting is complete, you may send in your application, along with all of the necessary paperwork.
There is also an annual fee that must be paid to receive and keep your permit. The fee amount depends on how many children you have in your daycare facility. The fees are as follows:
Equipment and Staff Needed
Daycares in Georgia have specific requirements about the number of toilets and staff needed per child. If you are going to be operating a large daycare, you will need to add toilets and sinks as per the following chart:
As you may have noticed, each additional 25 children require another sink and toilet to be added. No matter how many children you have, this remains the requirement.
Other necessary equipments for home or center daycares are chairs, tables, teaching equipment, and play equipment. An indoor and outdoor play area is required for all daycares in the state of Georgia.
The staff requirements for daycares are based on the age of the children you will have in the daycare. They are as follows:
As you can see, the state of Georgia has limits on the number of children of a certain age you can have in your daycare, as well as an increased need for staff the younger the children in your daycare are.
What do I do if I have pets in the home I’m running the daycare out of?
All animals that are in the home daycare will run out of must be kept confined during the time that you have children there. All pets must also have up-to-date shots and vaccinations. A copy of the animal’s vaccination records must be submitted with your permit application.
How much does it cost to open a daycare in Georgia?
Home daycare in the state of Georgia may cost anywhere from $3,000 – $10,000 depending on how many children you will have, and how well-suited your home is for a daycare.
Starting a Child Care Learning Center is more expensive than a home daycare, with starting costs running from anywhere between $30,000 and $150,000. The more children you plan to have, the higher the cost will be to rent or buy, and remodel, a facility into an appropriate daycare facility.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.