As a parent, [you want to ensure](/daycare-interview) that the facility and individuals you entrust with your child’s safety fulfill their promises. While you may have a few daycare facilities in mind and know the essentials of what to look for, it is imperative that you also understand the licensing requirements for daycare facilities in Florida. These requirements are what protect children the most – and facilities that fail to meet these requirements will not have a valid license in the state. In addition, by understanding these requirements, you can also get a better idea of what you should look for in a potential daycare provider or facility.
Daycare facilities have to meet certain worker qualifications, provider-to-child ratios, and training requirements in order to be licensed in Florida. However, in some situations—such as meeting the minimum state requirements for how many care workers should be present per child—there are other things to look for besides proper licensing.
To be a licensed child care worker, an individual must be at least 21 years or older. Inquire about the ages of any care workers – including volunteers – to ensure that they are of legal age.
These are critical. While the state has their minimum requirements, you need to know how many care workers should be present per child – this ensures your child is adequately supervised and given the attention he or she deserves. The state requires a smaller ratio for younger children because they have more extensive needs – from diaper changes to regular feedings and the requirement of human contact. The state does not regulate maximum group sizes; but, as a parent, you do not want a facility that has an overabundance of children present at a single time, regardless of whether or not they are using the proper ratio of caregivers to children.Some ratios to keep in mind when you look for childcare facilities include:
There are also requirements for the ratios for a smaller child care facility. If your child is staying at a residence rather than a commercial facility, they can only have a maximum of 10 children with no more than five being preschool age, including the provider’s own children if they are under the age of 13.
To be licensed, there are specific training requirements as well, which include:
Despite these requirements, there are facilities out there that are licensed even though they fail to meet the demands of the state. These facilities are not only breaking the law, but acting negligently. If your [child is injured at a facility](/daycare-neglect-abuse) that fails to meet these safety guidelines, you should not only report them to the state licensing agency, but hold them accountable for their negligence.