Salt Lake City, Utah – When parents are making the difficult decision about what Salt Lake City child care facility to entrust their children to, they want to be sure the facility they choose meets, and exceeds, all Utah licensing requirements. But those waters can sometimes be hard to navigate. Amy Moyes and Bethany Hosking, owners of Learning Tree Schools, offer a simplified explanation of the types of regulated child care in West Valley City, Utah and throughout the state.
“There are so many decisions when choosing child care,” says Moyes. “Should you choose an independent facility, a chain or a family day care? How do you know they are meeting all the state’s requirements? Hopefully, we can help answer a few questions to make the decision a bit easier.”
Caregiver or teacher-to-child ratio is extremely important when looking at Millcreek day cares. Be sure the facilities you visit follow these guidelines.
Center-based day care
One caregiver for every four infants
One caregiver for every four toddlers (under 2 years of age)
One caregiver to every seven 2-year-olds
One teacher to every 12 3-year-olds
One caregiver to every 15 4-year-olds
One caregiver to every 20 5-year-olds
Licensed family day care
One caregiver may care for up to eight children, with no more than two children under the age of 2. Or one caregiver may care for up to six children with no more than three children under the age of 2. Or two caregivers can care for up to 16 children with no more than four children under the age of 2. It is important to note that the provider’s own children under the age of 4 count in each of these ratios.
Residential day care
One caregiver may care for up to eight children, with no more than two children being under the age of 2. As with a family day care, the provider’s own children under the age of 4 count in the ratio.
Exempt day care
One caregiver can care for up to four non-related children, with no limit on the number of infants.
“Additionally, there are several other things these child care providers must do in order to maintain their licensing,” says Moyes, whose Learning Tree Schools pride themselves on meeting and exceeding all expectations. “Parents should always be sure they are choosing a facility whose licenses are up-to-date and who are aware of the entire guidelines specific to their type of facility.”
To maintain a residential certificate, caregivers must undergo a yearly background check, complete an initial five hours of training, host an annual home visit with 90 days’ notice, enforce health and safety standards.
For a licensed family day care to maintain their certificate, they must submit to a yearly criminal background check and 20 hours of annual training. An annual and unannounced home visit must be completed. There must be an initial fire inspection and zoning and planning regulations must be met. They must enforce health and safety standards.
A child care center must have a yearly criminal background check completed on every caregiver, and every caregiver must complete 20 hours of initial training and at least 20 hours annually. They must pass annual fire and health inspections and have planned and posted activities for their children. They must also enforce all health and safety standards. Directors of these centers are required to have a CDA or degree in early childhood education. At an hourly child care facility, directors must also have at least two years of experience.
“Parents should be prepared to ask questions about the facility’s licensing,” says Hosking. “Don’t be afraid to ask to see an up-to-date license or certificate. You should feel comfortable with the facility you leave your child in, and knowing they have met and followed the state guidelines is one important step in that.”
The Bureau of Child Development, a division of the Utah Department of Health, is responsible for licensing child care facilities in the state. To learn more, or to find the most up to date information on your child care facility, parents can visit their website.
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