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Department of Public Instruction Overview

Child care law does not require DPI programs to be licensed, except when the program participates in child care subsidy. In addition, if a group other than a public school operates an early care and after-school program in the public school and operates more than 4 hours a day, then licensure is required. DPI school-age only programs, at times, choose to be licensed to receive a star rating for marketing purposes.

Licensed DPI programs must meet all child care requirements except for the ones listed below. The reason for most of the differences in licensing requirements is that DPI programs are already required to meet or exceed the licensing standard to meet DPI standards.

Differences in licensing requirements include:

  • School-age only DPI programs are not required to have a building or fire inspection. A copy of the school’s original inspection report or Certificate of Occupancy may be submitted in place of a new building inspection.  If neither is available, a letter from the superintendent with pertinent information will suffice. A copy of the school’s most recent fire inspection report must also be submitted.
  • If the DPI program includes preschool children in care, then a building inspection is required. The three part NCR form is provided by the Division and must be completed by a county building inspector.  
  • A fence is not required to enclose the outdoor play area. However, if a fence is present, it is recommended that it meet the standards in section .0605 of the Child Care Requirements. Also, if a fence is present, there must be sufficient square footage available within the fenced area to accommodate the number of children for which the school will be licensed or an additional open area must be designated for outdoor play space.
  • Areas designated by the program as primary space will be monitored by the Division to meet the Child Care Requirements. Designated auxiliary space, such as the cafeteria, library, computer rooms, art room, music room, and gym are only monitored to ensure that the spaces do not pose any serious health or safety risks for the children and that ratios and supervision are maintained whenever children use the space.
  • Staff in DPI early childhood education programs and school-age child care programs are deemed to exceed all minimum staff qualification requirements, therefore they do not have to give evidence of meeting pre-service training, education or experience requirements, unless they are applying for a two to five star license.
  • Staff also do not have to complete a new Criminal Record Check (CRC) for the Division. The principal signs the CRC Verification form provided by the Division attesting that a CRC was completed upon hire with the public school system.
  • The same children’s records are required for child care programs in the public school as are required for all other child care programs. The only exception is that a Medical Examination report is not required for any school-age child enrolled in an accredited or approved public or private school.
  • Written verification, on a form provided by the Division, must be on-site that identifies the storage location, name and contact information of the individual responsible for maintaining off-site records and a statement that the records are on file and contain the appropriate, current information.

  • Records that may be maintained off-site include:


    Current vehicle registration and insurance

    Drivers' licenses

    Documentation that drivers have completed an orientation on transporting preschool

    children, if applicable to your program.

    Children's Records

    Application for enrollment

    Medical Exam (Preschool age only)

    Immunization Records

    Signed Discipline Policy Receipt Statement

    Signed Summary of Law Receipt Statement

    Signed Operational Policy Receipt Statement (for programs meeting enhanced

    requirements only)

    Staff Records

    Application for Employment

    Medical Exam with negative TB Test Results

    Annual Health Questionnaires

    Documentation of Orientation

    Criminal Record Check Verification

    Credential/Equivalency Verification

    Signed Personnel and Operational Policy Receipt Statement (for programs meeting

    enhanced requirements only)

    Signed Job Description Receipt Statement (for programs meeting enhanced

    requirements only)

    Annual Staff Evaluations (for programs meeting enhance requirements only)

    Annual Staff Development Plans (for programs meeting enhance requirements only)

  • Records that must be maintained on-site include:


    Emergency and identifying information for each child (in vehicle)

    List of children being transported **


    Emergency Care Information

    Transportation and Field Trip Permission, if applicable

    Incident Reports

    Medication Authorization and Documentation


    Emergency Information

    Documentation of In-service Training

    Documentation of CPR and First Aid


    Schedules and Activity Plans *

    First Aid Charts *

    Safe Arrival and Departure Procedures **

    Menus **

    Fire Drill Reports

    Fire Evacuation Routes/Procedures *

    Emergency Numbers **

    Emergency Medical Care Plan **

    Allergy Postings/Special Diets (must be posted in the primary space

    and the food preparation area) *

    Daily Attendance Records *

    Incident Reports and Incident Log

    Classroom Staff/Child Ratio Notice *

    Playground Safety Inspections (monthly)

    Summary of the NC Child Care Law **

    Copy of the original Building Inspection Report, Certificate of Occupancy,

    or letter from the school superintendent

    Copy of the school's fire inspection report

    Sanitation Inspection **

    Rating Scale Report

  • * Must be in each primary space - classroom/space used by the children

    ** When multiple rooms are licensed in an individual school, the record may be maintained or posted in a central location that is prominent to all classrooms.

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