How to Start a Daycare in Virginia

by Emily Beach; Updated September 26, 2017
Reading to a child.

Many people who love to work with children dream of starting their own day care. It is a flexible business, requires little start-up funding, and allows people to work from home. It is especially beneficial for parents, as it allows them to spend the day with their own children while saving on childcare expenses. In Virginia, the type of license required for a new day care is based on the number of children that will be cared for.

Get a county business license. This is required if your day care will allow between two and five children. This license functions just as a regular business license, and you can apply for it at your county tax office. A list of county tax offices can be found in the Resources section of this article.

Apply for a Virginia State Family Day Care Home License if you plan to care for between six and 12 children. You can apply for this license at the Department of Social Services, Licensing Division. Call (703) 934-1505 for more information, or find your local branch office at the website listed in Resources.

Secure a State of Virginia Child Care Center license if your day care will have 13 or more children. This license is required whether you plan to operate out of your home or out of a separate facility. You can get the license at the Department of Social Services, Licensing Division. You can call the division at (703) 934-1505 or find a branch office on its website.

Obtain the proper training. For Virginia daycare centers with more than 13 children, the owner or manager must have either a bachelor's degree in a childcare-related field or a child development credential from the Council for Professional Recognition. You can learn more about obtaining this credential at the Council's website, and it is possible to earn this credential online.

Check your town's zoning regulations. Many day cares are operated out of the home, but this is against the law in some areas that are zoned as strictly residential. This is especially true if you live in a townhouse or condo. You can verify zoning at the Department of Planning and Zoning website.

Hire staff to fulfill child to caregiver ratios. In Virginia, there must be one adult to every four infants, one adult to each 10 toddlers, and one adult to every 20 school-age children. If you start small, you can add staff as you go, but it is important to follow these ratios or you risk losing your license.

Obtain insurance. Consider liability, workmen's compensation and additional home insurance to protect your clients, workers and assets.

About the Author

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

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