~ Our Mission: To ensure safeguards and enhance quality for children in out-of-home care. ~

Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I need a license?

  1. Any person, association, agency, or organization that has custody or control of one or more children under age 18, unattended by parent or guardian, for the purpose of providing the child or children with care, education, protection, supervision or guidance; is compensated for services; and advertises or holds himself, herself or itself out as conducting such child care; requires a license.
  2. Homes in which children have been placed by any child placing agency properly licensed to place children in this State do not need a license.

How do I become licensed?

There are many steps to becoming a licensed child care facility.  Information sessions and orientations were created to help walk you through the process.  Depending on the type of care you are interested in providing, choose from the following options:
sign up for Family Child Care Home Information Session,
sign up for Large Family Child Care Home Information Session,
sign up for Center Information Session.

How much does a child care license cost?

There is no fee for a license.  However, some licensing regulations cost money to comply with health, fire, state and local laws, and ordinances.

If I become licensed, how often will I be monitored?

All facilities are reviewed annually and when a complaint is reported. 

Can I see what is in a licensing file?

The Office of Child Care Licensing maintains a file on each licensed facility. Each file includes copies of compliance reviews, applications for licensure, reports of any complaints filed against the facility, and any enforcement actions. These files are available for public review. If you wish to review a file, you should contact one of the Licensing Offices to schedule a time. You will be asked to put your request in writing prior to actually reviewing the file. If you wish to have copies of documents from the record, there is a charge of 25 cents per page for the copies.

What is the difference between “babysitting” and “child care”?

Babysitting occurs in the child’s home whereas child care occurs in your home.  You must be licensed to provide child care for non-relatives in your home.

Can you care for your own relatives without being licensed?

Yes, you can care for children that you have the following relationships with by blood, marriage, or adoption: parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, step-parent, step-brother and step-sister.  Cousins are not considered relatives.

If I’m not getting paid, do I need a license?

You do not need a license if you are not paid.

I’m just “helping out” a friend by watching her child/children. Why do I need a license?

You need a license if you are providing care in your home and being paid for that service.  The law requires a license.

Why are there so many rules?

There are so many rules because providing care for children is a very important service and many things can go wrong.  To limit the risk to children, rules were made to ensure their health, safety, and well-being.

Does OCCL have a copy of my medication certificate?

The Office of Child Care Licensing does not keep records of individuals who have completed the Administration of Medication training.

Is it okay that my child’s center has mixed age groups in the mornings and afternoons?

Yes, as long as the staff-to-child ratios and group size requirements are maintained for the youngest child present.

Can I take first aid and CPR online?

First Aid may be taken online if given by an OCCL approved agency.  CPR may be taken online if given by an OCCL approved agency and includes a hands-on demonstration of these skills as a part of the certification.

I don’t like my child care provider’s policies.  Can OCCL help?

Child care providers can have whatever policies they want as long as they are not in violation of DELACARE Regulations.  OCCL can help you find a new child care by using our child care search.

What is a background check?

A fingerprinted Delaware and Federal (national) report of a person’s entire criminal history, a DSCYF child protection registry check, and other checks as required by State and federal law.

What is a child protection registry check?

A computer search of the Division of Family Services, child protection registry to determine if a person is active on the registry as a perpetrator in any substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect. The reportable substantiated incidents shall be designated at one of three levels: II, III, IV.

What is a child protection registry?

A central registry of information about persons the Division of Family Services has found cause to believe, or a court has substantiated through court adjudication, as having committed child abuse or neglect since August 1, 1994. The reportable substantiated incidents shall be designated at one of three levels: II, III, IV.

Who is required to have a background check?

Persons 18 and over who have regular direct access to children receiving care or providing services directly to a child or children in the following categories:

  • DSCYF contractors, employees and volunteers.
  • Applicants for adoption, foster care, respite care and their household members.
  • Licensed child care applicants, employees, substitutes, volunteers, contractors and household members.
  • License exempt child care applicants, employees, substitutes, volunteers, contractors and household members.

Note: Youth camp applicants, employees, substitutes, volunteers and contractors may voluntarily submit to a background check.

What is the process for a background checks?

  1. Schedule a fingerprint appointment with the Delaware State Police by calling 1-800-464-4357. Locations are available in all three counties; no appointment is necessary at the Dover location.
  2. Complete a Background Check Request form.
  3. After fingerprints are obtained, the person receives a SBI receipt of fingerprinting as proof of being fingerprinted.
  4. Delaware State Police forwards criminal results to the DSCYF Criminal History Unit.
  5. Criminal History Unit conducts a child protection registry check and any other checks as required by State and federal law.
  6. The Criminal History Unit determines eligibility based on the results of the background check and notifies the agency/employer when a person is ineligible or prohibited.

Note: When a person is determined ineligible or prohibited, the Criminal History Unit also notifies the person through U.S. postal mail of the background check results and provides instructions on how he/she can request an administrative review to challenge the accuracy or completeness of the results.

What are the grounds for denying employment or approval?

  1. Prohibited criminal convictions and prohibited child abuse and neglect substantiations as designated under 31 Delaware Code, Section 309 and 16 Delaware Code, Section 923.
    Note: Applicants for adoption, foster care, respite care and their household members must also comply with the prohibited convictions under the federal Adoption & Safe Families Act of 1997.
    Note: Licensed and license exempt child care providers must also comply with the prohibited convictions under the Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014.
  2. Ineligible criminal convictions other than those that are prohibited shall be reviewed in consideration of other criteria below. The review will be conducted by the DSCYF, Criminal History Unit. A recommendation will be made utilizing the following criteria:
    • Types of criminal convictions (including but not limited to):
      • Offenses against an individual where physical harm or death has taken place.
      • Drug Offenses.
      • Offenses involving weapons, explosive devices or threat of harm.
      • Offenses involving public indecency and obscenity.
      • Offenses that show a disregard of others.
      • Cruelty to animals or deviant behavior.
    • Number of convictions
    • Length of time since conviction(s)
    • Criminal record since the conviction(s)
    • Relationship of the conviction(s) to the type of job assignment or responsibilities of the person
    • Current probation or parole status as a result of the conviction(s)
    • Delacare Regulations
    • Policies of DSCYF

What are the employer responsibilities?

  1. Direct persons to the Delaware State Police to have fingerprints taken.
  2. Ensure that all persons have been fingerprinted and have provided a SBI receipt of fingerprinting.
  3. Maintain a copy of the SBI receipt of fingerprinting for each person.
  4. Notify the Criminal History Unit when an applicant has been terminated from employment or denied approval prior to completion of the background check.
  5. Immediately terminate an individual or deny an individual for adoption, foster care or respite care when notified by the Criminal History Unit of a prohibited conviction or substantiation.
  6. Require all persons to notify agency or employer of any subsequent criminal charges and subsequent allegations of child abuse or neglect against them as a condition of continued employment or approval.

In an emergency situation, may I give Diastat to children?

Yes, you may administer Diastat, an emergency medication inserted rectally for seizure control, as long as the following requirements are met:

  • You have a valid Administration of Medication certificate;
  • A parent/guardian must provide written instructions and training to you stating the conditions under which the medication should be given, how to give the medication, and follow-up requirements;
  • Written parent/guardian permission is required to give this prescription medication, which must be properly labelled. All other requirements and exclusions found in the Administration of Medication Self-Study Training Guide and the DELACARE Regulations must be followed; and
  • Provider must notify parent/guardian immediately that the medication was given.

In an emergency situation, may I give Glucagon to children?

Yes, you may administer Glucagon, an emergency medication used to treat severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) by increasing blood glucose levels, as long as the following requirements are met:

  • You have a valid Administration of Medication certificate;
  • A parent/guardian must provide written instructions and training to you stating the conditions under which the medication should be given, how to give the medication, and follow-up requirements;
  • Written parent/guardian permission is required to give this prescription medication, which must be properly labelled. All other requirements and exclusions found in the Administration of Medication Self-Study Training Guide and the DELACARE Regulations must be followed; and
  • Provider must notify parent/guardian immediately that the medication was given.

Do I have to be certified in administration of medication to use an epi-pen on someone?

Yes, you must be certified in administration of medication.

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