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Child Care Facility Requirements 

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The following information highlights the requirements for the types of child care facilities that are approved, licensed, or registered by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. If you have any questions concerning the approval, licensure or registration of a child care facility, contact one of our regional offices.


Types of Child Care Facilities



Frequency of Inspections

 

 

Family Child Care Home (FCCH) 

May provide care for up to six (6) children at any given time within a residence occupied by the operator. Registration is required if a person provides care to more than one unrelated family of children on a regular basis (more than two days a week and more than four hours a day). All applicants must have written approval from their local zoning Board before a permit can be issued. A FCCH must have a working, listed telephone number.


Registered FCCH

  1. Located in an occupied residence and have a working, listed telephone number.

  2. Application

  3. Letters of reference

  4. Written approval from their local Zoning Board

  5. Statement from parents affirming that regulations have been reviewed by operator

  6. State and Federal fingerprint checks on operator, all household members 15 years and older, and any substitute caregivers. State agencies no longer accept ink-rolled fingerprints. Only scanned prints are now accepted. Click here for more information on scanned fingerprints.

  7. Consent to Release Information (DSS form 2924) ($8.00 per person), click here to download form (PDF)

Regular registrations expire one year from the date of issuance.


Licensed FCCH

In addition to the requirements for a Registered FCCH, to become a Licensed FCCH the following is also needed:

  1. Fire Inspection

  2. Sanitation Inspection ($60.00)

  3. Child Care Licensing Inspection

  4. State and Federal fingerprint checks on operator, all household members 15 years and older, and any substitute caregivers. State agencies no longer accept ink-rolled fingerprints. Only scanned prints are now accepted. Click here for more information on scanned fingerprints.

  5. First Aid/CPR Certification.

  6. Consent to Release Information (DSS form 2924) ($8.00 per person), click here to download form (PDF)

Regular licenses expire two years from the date of issuance.

 

 

Group Child Care Home (GCCH) 

Applies to facilities operating with a capacity from seven (7) to twelve (12) children. May care for eight (8) children without an additional caregiver. When the attendance reaches nine or there are more than three children under the age of 24 months, an additional caregiver must be present at all times. In addition, there must be an emergency backup person available that is not included in the staff to child ratio.

After August 25, 2000, a Group Child Care Home may not be operated in a separate building. A Group Child Care Home must be in the residence of the operator. If you reside in a mobile home, you may contact the State Fire Marshal's office (803-896-9800) to discuss if the structure meets Fire Codes.

  1. Operator must be at least 21 years old and meet one of the following qualifications:

    • A Bachelor's Degree in Child Development or Early Childhood Education from an accredited college or institution

    • A Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or institution and at least six months verifiable experience as a caregiver in a licensed / approved child care facility

    • An Associate Degree in Child Development / Early Childhood Education from an accredited college with one year verifiable experience as a caregiver in a licensed, approved, or registered child care facility

    • A diploma in child development / early childhood education from an approved institution or a child development associate (CDA) credential, with one year work experience in a licensed, approved, or registered child care facility

    • A high school diploma or General Educational Development Certificate (GED) with 3 years of experience in a licensed, approved, registered child care facility. One year shall include supervision of child care staff. However, an operator or primary caregiver who is prevented from obtaining a high school diploma or GED because of a disability, and who otherwise is qualified to perform the essential functions of the position, must have at least a high school Certificate of Completion and at least six months experience as a teacher/caregiver in a licensed, approved or registered child care facility.

  2. Zoning Approval 

  3. Fire Inspection 

  4. Architectural plans submitted to DSS Child Care Fire and Life Safety at the DSS Child Care Central Office

  5. Sanitation Inspection ($60.00) 

  6. Child Care Licensing Inspection 

  7. State and Federal fingerprint checks on operator, all household members 15 years and older, and any substitute caregivers. State agencies no longer accept ink-rolled fingerprints. Only scanned prints are now accepted. Click here for more information on scanned fingerprints.

  8. Staff certified in Basic First Aid and CPR to cover all hours of operation

  9. Training Requirements to include blood – borne pathogens training as required by OHSA

  10. Consent to Release Information (DSS form 2924) ($8.00 per person), click here to download form (PDF)

  11. Three letters of reference

  12. Licensed Group Home Fee of $30.00 is required every two years

 

 

Child Care Center (CCC)  

Applies to facilities operating with a capacity of 13 or more children. A child care center must be licensed if the program operates more than four hours a day and more than two days a week. Programs that operate less than four hours a day may keep children during school vacations and holidays and be exempt from licensing.

 

Licensed CCC

Facilities that need to be licensed must meet the following criteria:

  1. Center Director/Co-Director Must be at least 21 years old and must meet one of the following requirements:

    • A bachelor’s degree or advanced degree from a state-approved college or university in early childhood education, child development, child psychology or a related field that includes at least eighteen credit hours in child development and/or early childhood education

    • A bachelor’s degree from a state-approved college or university in any subject area, six months experience working with children in a licensed, approved or registered child care facility

    • An associate degree from a state-approved college or university in early childhood education, child development, child psychology or a related field, that includes at least eighteen credit hours in child development and/or early childhood education with six months work experience in a licensed, approved or registered child care facility

    • A diploma in child development/early childhood education from a state-approved institution or a child development associate credential (CDA) and one year work experience in a licensed, approved or registered child care facility

    • A High School diploma or GED with 3 years experience in a licensed, approved or registered child care facility. One year shall include supervision of child care staff.

  2. Zoning Approval 

  3. Architectural plans submitted to DSS Child Care Fire and Life Safety at the DSS Child Care Central Office

  4. Fire Inspection 

  5. Sanitation Inspection ($60.00) 

  6. Child Care Licensing Inspection

  7. State and Federal fingerprint checks. State agencies no longer accept ink-rolled fingerprints. Only scanned prints are now accepted. Click here for more information on scanned fingerprints

  8. Three letters of reference for the director 

  9. Staff certified in Basic First Aid and CPR to Cover All Hours of Operation

  10. Training Requirements to include blood-borne pathogens training as required by OSHA

  11. Consent to Release Information (DSS form 2924) ($8.00 per person), click here to download form (PDF)


Approved Child Care Center

The South Carolina Department of Social Services approves all child care centers that are publicly funded by federal, state, county or city monies. Requirements for approval are the same as licensing requirements stated above.

 

 

Child Care Centers Operated by Religious Bodies or Groups 

A child care facility sponsored by a religious body must be registered and has the option of becoming licensed. If this type of facility chooses to become licensed, it must meet the licensing requirements listed above for a Licensed Child Care Center.

To become registered, a facility must meet the following criteria:

  1. Center Director/Co-Director(s) must be at least 21 years old and must meet one of the following requirements: 

    • A college or university degree in early childhood education, child development, child psychology or a related field that includes at least eighteen credit hours in child development and/or early childhood education

    • A bachelor’s degree from a college or university in any subject area and six months experience working with children in a licensed, approved or registered child care facility

    • An associate’s degree from a college or university in early childhood education, child development and/or child psychology or a related field, that includes at least eighteen credit hours in child development and/or early childhood education with six months work experience in a licensed, approved or registered child care facility

    • A diploma in child development/early childhood education from an institution of higher learning or a child development associate credential (CDA) and one year work experience in a licensed, approved or registered child care facility

    • A high school diploma or GED with at least one year experience in a licensed, approved or registered child care facility. That year shall include supervision of child care staff. A director/co-director who is prevented from obtaining a high school diploma or GED because of a disability, and who otherwise is qualified to perform the essential functions of the position, must have at least a high school Certificate of Completion with at least one year of work experience in a licensed, approved or registered child care facility. That year shall have included supervision of child care staff.

  2. Zoning Approval 

  3. Architectural plans submitted to DSS Child Care Fire and Life Safety at the DSS Child Care Central Office

  4. Fire Inspection

  5. Sanitation Inspection ($60.00) 

  6. Child Care Licensing Inspection

  7. State and Federal fingerprint checks. State agencies no longer accept ink-rolled fingerprints. Only scanned prints are now accepted. Click here for more information on scanned fingerprints

  8. Staff certified in Basic First Aid and CPR to Cover All Hours of Operation

  9. Training Requirements to include blood-borne pathogens training as required by OSHA

  10.  Consent to Release Information (DSS form 2924) ($8.00 per person), click here to download form (PDF)

  11. Registered Church or Religious Entity fee of $50.00 is required every two years

 


Frequency of Inspections 

Centers, Group Homes, and Licensed Family Homes: Unannounced visits are made twice each year or in response to a complaint; visits are scheduled with the facility during the re-licensing process which occurs every two years.

Registered Family Homes: Most family homes are registered, not licensed. By law, the agency can only inspect these homes in response to a complaint. When a complaint is filed, DSS inspectors make an unannounced visit to investigate it. Family homes are required to register with the agency by mail every year. Because family homes are not inspected on a regular basis, parents should be aware that these facilities have fewer deficiencies listed on this website than other regulated facilities.

   

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