Do child care operations need a license?
In general, all child care operations caring for more than two unrelated
children are required by state law to be licensed by Colorado Department
of Human Services. Before Human Services can approve a child care license
application for a child care center, preschool, school-age child care
program, children's camp, day treatment center, or residential child
care center the applicant must obtain approval from the local health
department, fire department, building department and planning/zoning.
Programs for religious instruction and operations such as health clubs
where parents are at the same site as their children are not required
to hold child care licenses.
Are home day care operations inspected by the health department?
No, family child care homes that care for fewer than seven children
in a place of residence and family foster homes are not required to
have health department inspections.
What kinds of child care operations does the health department
The health department inspects child care operations that provide care
for seven or more children or provide 24 hour care for children. These
operations include large child care centers, preschools, before and
after school programs, day camps, seasonal children's camps, residential
child care facilities, group homes and day treatment centers.
How often does the heath department inspect child care operations?
Inspection frequencies very from one to two times a year. Since disease
outbreaks are often associated with diapered children and children who
attend child care for a full day, child care operations that care for
infants and toddlers or provide care for more than three and a half
hours a day are to be inspected two times a year. Preschools, before
and after school programs, summer camps, and other similar types of
child care operations are to be inspected once a year.
What does the health department look for when they conduct an inspection?
Health department inspections evaluate hygienic practices including
diaper changing procedures and hand washing, food preparation and service
procedures, general cleaning and sanitizing, maintenance of facilities,
children's immunizations, medication dispensing protocols and playgrounds.
Facilities such as camps, that rely on noncommunity water systems and
individual sewage disposal systems are also inspected for proper operation
of these systems.
Are inspection reports available to the public for review?
Yes, both health department and human services inspection reports are
public documents. State child care regulations require child care operations
to make available the most recent health department and human service
inspection reports at their establishments.
How do I open a child care operation?
Contact Colorado Department of Human Services at (303) 866-5958 and
make application. Approval from the heath department, fire department,
building department and planning and zoning will be required. For child
care operations that will be newly constructed plans should be submitted
to the health department for review before starting construction. Many
building departments will not release building permits for new child
centers until the health department "signs off" on the permit
Can parents furnish food for children in the center?
Parents may furnish meals for their child only. However, non-potentially
hazardous snacks obtained from commercial sources may be provided for
children other than their own. For example, a parent may purchase pre-made
cupcakes or cookies from a grocery store to celebrate a child's birthday.
Are there regulations that schools must follow?
Yes, The Rules and Regulations Governing Schools in the State of Colorado
applies to all schools Kindergarten through grade 12. Schools are inspected
by the local health department to determine compliance with the regulations.
Areas inspected include condition of general grounds, safety of water
supply, proper sewage and refuse disposal, control of insects/rodents/classroom
animals, plumbing, safety of equipment and supplies, food service, lab/art/vocational
hazards, health services, and proper operation of mechanical systems.
Are certain materials prohibited from school labs?
Yes. As of March 2002, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
has amended the regulations to include listings of prohibited and restricted
chemicals for school laboratories. These may be found in Appendices A,
B, and B2 of Rules and Regulations Governing Schools in the State of Colorado.