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How often are child care centers actually visited by the Division?

Division staff make annual unannounced visits to each program. Additional visits are made to investigate complaints as well as provide technical assistance as time allows.

How about family care homes?

The Division staff also make unannounced annual visits to family child care homes. Like centers, unannounced visits are made to investigate any complaints that are received.

What happens after I make an abuse or neglect complaint against a child care facility to the Division? How do I know that my complaint was handled appropriately?

Effective January 1, 2006, following the substantiation of any abuse or neglect complaint or the issuance of any administrative action against a child care facility, the child care operator shall notify the parents of children currently enrolled. The notification shall be in writing and shall include information on the nature of the substantiated complaint or the type of administrative action taken. This includes administrative actions that are under appeal with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

The operator shall maintain copies of documentation of the substantiated complaint investigation or the administrative action issued against the facility for the past three years in a binder, which shall be accessible to parents.

View a description of the complaint process.

I recently noticed a Special Provisional Permit hanging on the wall of my child care facility. Can you explain to me exactly what that means?

When a substantiation of child abuse and neglect occurs in a child care program, one action that the Division can take is to issue a Special Provisional permit. Extra monitoring visits are made during the timeframe of the permit to ensure that any required corrective action has taken place. The Division can also limit enrollment of new children while the Special Provisional permit is in place. For more specific information about why your program received this type of license you can request a copy of the administrative action from your provider or the Division by calling 1.800.859.0829.

My child attends a pre-school program located within my county's public school system. Is that program licensed by your office also?

The child care law exempts programs operated by public schools from having to be licensed. However, if the program receives subsidy payments, they must be licensed.

Can I drop in and visit my child's facility at any time?

The child care rules specify that parents, guardians or full time custodians be allowed unlimited access to their child's program during its operating hours to see the child, or to evaluate the care being provided. The rules also indicate that the parent should notify the director/provider when they arrive at the program. A provider can not prevent a parent from picking up or visiting a child unless there are court papers which restrict access of that individual.

Is there a mandated time that a child can spend in a child care center or home?

The child care requirements do not specify a maximum amount of time that a child can spend in care. Individual child care programs may set their own limits on hours of care.

Does my child have to be immunized to attend a child care facility if it's against my family's religious beliefs?

No. If a parent objects to immunizations due to a bona fide religious belief, then their child is exempt from the immunization requirement. There is no form for requesting religious exemptions in North Carolina. To claim an exemption, the parent must provide a written statement of their religious objection to immunization, including the name and date of the person for whom the exemption is being requested. For more information about NC immunization exemptions visit

What are my rights as the parent of a child that is being bitten often in a child care setting?

Biting is a normal stage of development for many children between 18 months and 2 1/2 years old. Because they are not able to verbalize their feelings, many older toddlers resort to biting when they are frustrated, tired, angry or overly excited. Providers and parents must work with children who are biters to be firm that it is inappropriate, yet give the child new ways to respond in those situations. If a child is biting excessively then a provider may have to modify their supervision techniques with that child. A complaint can be made to the Division if it appears that the supervision is not appropriate, the biting is excessive, and children are being injured by the biting.

Are child care facilities required to administer medications to children?

No, child care facilities are not required to administer medication and many providers are hesitant to do so because of liability concerns. Child care rules address the procedures that must be followed if medicine is administered which include requirements for documenting when medication is given, having written permission and instructions, and keeping medications under lock and key.

During naptime in a child care facility, should the ratios for children to teacher remain the same as in normal operating hours?

For children who are less than two years old the staff/child ratios must always be maintained. For children who are two and older, a program can have one staff person in the classroom during nap, as long as the total staff required are on the premises and within calling distance.

What is the length of time a child should spend outside when the weather is extremely hot or cold?

There is no concrete answer to this question. The rules indicate that children should go outdoors daily, weather permitting. There are no specifics related to temperature or amount of time. It is up to the provider to determine how long is appropriate. That decision would be based on the activity occurring, the age of the children, clothing that is worn, and the type of weather that is occurring. Many parents request that their child stay indoors when they have an ear infection or other illness, however medical personnel indicate that being outdoors does not make a child sick, and in some ways can be better for them. Air inside can be stagnant and full of germs while the outside air gives children an opportunity for fresh air.

Are all teachers at a child care program required to have a Criminal Records Check (CRC)?

All staff employed at a child care program must complete a CRC when first hired and a modified check every 3 years from the initial date of employment. Staff is defined as teachers, administrative staff, van drivers and cooks. In a family child care home, the provider, as well as any household members over 15 who are present when children are in care, must also complete a CRC upon opening the program and every three years from the initial date of operation. Volunteers at child care programs are not required to complete a CRC, although it can be the policy of the program to review a local history check from the Clerk of Court's office for any individual. Additional program policies could also include reviewing a local history check annually for all staff although this is not a licensing requirement.

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