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Licensing Requirements FAQ

Licensing FAQs

How often are child care centers and family child care homes visited by a Division of Child Development and Early Education representative?

Division representatives make annual unannounced visits to each program to monitor for compliance of applicable child care requirements. Additional visits are made to investigate complaints as well as provide technical assistance as time allows.


What happens after I make complaint against a child care facility to the Division?

The consultant makes an unannounced visit to discuss the complaint with the provider. The consultant may interview the facility administrator, teachers, parents, children, and any other individuals who may have information about the allegations.  Dependent upon the nature of the complaint, various aspects of the program will be monitored. If it is determined that the incident did occur, the provider is required to submit a compliance letter stating how the violation of child care requirements has been corrected.  Follow up visits may be made as needed.

View a description of the complaint process.

I recently noticed a Special Provisional License hanging on the wall of my child care facility. Can you explain to me exactly what that means?

When child maltreatment has occurred in a child care program, one action that the Division can take is to issue a Special Provisional License. Extra monitoring visits are made during the timeframe of the license to ensure that any required corrective action has taken place. The Division can also limit enrollment of new children while the Special Provisional License is in place. For more specific information about why your program received this type of license you can request a copy of the administrative action from your provider or the Division by calling 1.800.859.0829.

My child attends a preschool program located within my county's public school system. Is that program licensed by your office also?

The child care law exempts programs operated by public schools from having to be licensed. However, if the program participants in the NC Pre-Kindergarten Program or the Child Care Subsidy Assistance Program, they must be licensed.

Can I drop in and visit my child's facility at any time?

The child care rules specify that parents, guardians or full-time custodians are allowed unlimited access to their child's program during its operating hours for the purposes of contacting the child or evaluating the caregiving space and the care provided for the child. The rules also indicate that the parent should notify the on-site administrator/provider of his or her presence upon entering the premises. A provider cannot prevent a parent from picking up or visiting a child unless there are court papers which restrict access of that individual.

Is there a mandated time that a child can spend in a child care center or home?

The child care requirements do not specify a maximum amount of time that a child can spend in care. Individual child care programs may set their own limits on hours of care.

Does my child have to be immunized to attend a child care facility if it's against my family's religious beliefs?

No. If a parent objects to immunizations due to a bona fide religious belief, then their child is exempt from the immunization requirement. There is no form for requesting religious exemptions in North Carolina. To claim an exemption, the parent must provide a written statement of their religious objection to immunization, including the name and date of the person for whom the exemption is being requested.

What are my rights as the parent of a child that is being bitten often in a child care setting?

Biting is a normal stage of development for many children between 18 months and 2 1/2 years old. Because they are not able to verbalize their feelings, many older toddlers resort to biting when they are frustrated, tired, angry or overly excited. Providers and parents must work with children who are biters to be firm that it is inappropriate, yet give the child new ways to respond in those situations. If a child is biting excessively then a provider may have to modify their supervision techniques with that child. A complaint can be made to the Division if it appears that the supervision is not appropriate, the biting is excessive, and children are being injured by the biting.

Are child care facilities required to administer medications to children?

Child care facilities do not have to administer all types of medication but there are times when children with special health care needs or chronic conditions may require medication to safely participate in the program. For example, a child with an allergy to bee stings may require medication if they are stung. The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) is a federal law that requires that child care facilities make reasonable accommodations to include children with disabilities, including those with allergies. Providers, parents, and guardians are urged to consult legal professionals in North Carolina about concerns related to medication administration in a child care setting. 

Prior to accepting a medication from a child’s parent, be sure you are familiar with the rules regarding medication administration found in child care rule sections .0803 and .1720. We also recommend you contact a local Child Care Health Consultant for training and technical assistance on medication administration in child care. 

During naptime in a child care center, should the ratios for children to teacher remain the same as in normal operating hours?


For children who are less than two years old the staff/child ratios must always be maintained. For children who are two and older, a program can have one staff person in the classroom during nap, if the total staff required are on the premises and within calling distance.

What is the length of time a child should spend outside when the weather is extremely hot or cold?

The rules indicate that children should go outdoors daily, weather permitting. In a child care center, there shall be outdoor time, weather permitting, either as part of a small group, a whole group, or individual activity, for no less than the following durations:


Program Operating Hours        Ages of Children        Minimum Daily Outdoor Time       
All Programs Under 2 Years 30 Minutes
Less than 5 hours 0-12 years 30 minutes
5 hours or more 2-12 years 60 minutes



Classrooms serving NC Pre-K children must provide outdoor time for no less than 45 minutes per day, if weather conditions permit.  For family child care homes, each child shall have the opportunity for a minimum of one hour of outdoor play each day that weather conditions permit.


“If weather conditions permit" means:

(a) temperatures that fall within the guidelines developed by the Iowa Department of Public Health and specified on the Child Care Weather Watch chart. These guidelines shall be used when determining appropriate weather conditions for taking children outside for outdoor learning activities and playtime. This chart may be downloaded free of charge from; and is incorporated by reference and includes subsequent editions and amendments; (b) following the air quality standards as set out in 15A NCAC 18A .2832(d). The Air Quality Color Guide can be found on the Division's web site at or call 1-888-RU4NCAIR (1-888-784-6224); and (c) no active precipitation. Caregivers may choose to go outdoors when there is active precipitation if children have appropriate clothing such as rain boots and rain coats, or if they are under a covered area.


Many parents request that their child stay indoors when they have an ear infection or other illness, however medical personnel indicate that being outdoors does not make a child sick, and in some ways, can be better for them. Air inside can be stagnant and full of germs while the outside air gives children an opportunity for fresh air.

Are all teachers at a child care program required to have a Criminal Background Check (CBC)?

All individuals employed at a child care program must complete a CBC prior to employment and a recheck every 3 years.  In a family child care home, the provider, as well as any household members over 15 who are employed and/or reside in the residence must also complete a CBC prior to receiving a license to operate a child care program and every three years.





2201 Mail Service Center | Raleigh, NC 27699-2200
919-814-6300 | 1-800-859-0829 (In State Only)
[email protected]


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