Providing Child Care Services In Your Home: Special Challenges You Will Face
Opening your home to total strangers takes a very special kind of person. When those strangers are children and their parents, and you are their daycare teacher, you have even more to be concerned about. Besides being the primary caregiver for up to eight children, including your own, you have to jump through several legal and educational hoops just to open your home as a daycare. Here are examples of those challenges, and what you need to do to meet daycare licensing codes.
Making Your Home Accessible to All Children
This can be a particularly difficult challenge. You should be able to provide care to children with both physical and cognitive disabilities. In some states you have to prove that you not only have the educational background to meet the needs of these children, but have also made adjustments to your home that provide for these children's special needs. This includes a wheelchair ramp to at least one door, special eating utensils, educational toys and supportive devices for sensory and physical/cognitive development.
Designating "Child Only" Areas
Since this is your home, there are areas of the house where the children should not go, e.g., master bedroom. You will need to provide locks or some other means to seal off these areas of the house so that the children remain within the rooms specified for childcare on your licensing application. If you have children who require help with toileting and diaper changes, you will also need to provide a bathroom and changing table. Additionally, to protect yourself against accusations of abuse, another unrelated adult will have to be present to witness toileting and diaper changes.
Keeping Excellent Records
You will need to keep records for the food you purchase for your daycare versus the food you purchase for personal use when your services are closed. Keeping business records accurate and to the penny will help you when you file taxes, request financial help from child welfare services, and apply for food assistance programs that assist in-home daycares. You will also need to keep excellent records on every child in your care, from educational progress notes to recording every injury they come into your home with and every injury they incur while in your home. This protects you from lawsuits and helps you if you need to file a child abuse report with the county.
Keeping a Lawyer on Retainer
You may never need the services of a lawyer, but if you put one on retainer, then you can rest easy knowing that you have legal protection and representation when you need it. A lot can happen when your home becomes your business, and this is just a preventive, but necessary, measure. Additionally, the lawyer can represent you if there are any issues with the IRS and your tax status.
Speak with people, like Cottonwood Montessori, who have experience in this area if you have any questions.