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How to Start a Daycare in Kansas

Learn how to start a daycare that meets childcare licensing requirements in Kansas.

How to Start a Daycare in Kansas

How to Start a Daycare in Kansas

Starting a daycare is a big commitment, but with hard work and preparation, you can make a big difference in the lives of children and families in your community. Your state's licensing requirements are among the most important things to consider when opening a daycare. Follow this guide to learn more about childcare licensing requirements in Kansas and the steps to take to apply for the appropriate license.

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Do I need a childcare license in Kansas?

A childcare license is required to open a daycare in Kansas. A license helps to protect the health, safety, and welfare of children receiving care.

Three types of childcare facilities are regulated under Kansas law:

  • Licensed daycare homes: Licensed daycare homes are home-based childcare facilities that provide care for up to 10 children under 16 years old, including children under 11 years old who are related to the provider.
  • Group daycare homes: Group daycare homes are home-based childcare facilities that provide care for up to 12 children under 16 years old, including children under 11 years old who are related to the provider.
  • Childcare centers: Childcare centers are center-based childcare facilities that provide care and educational activities for 13 or more children from two weeks to 16 years old for three to 24 hours per day or provide before and after-school care for school-age children.

Home-based daycare facilities in Kansas do not require a childcare license when:

  • Child care is being provided for children who reside in the home
  • All children receiving care are relatives of the childcare provider
  • Child care is arranged between friends or neighbors on an irregular basis
  • Less than 20 hours of child care is provided per week for up to two children unrelated to the childcare provider

A toddler sitting on a rug and reaching for a toy in front of her.

Source

Childcare licensing requirements in Kansas

Daycare facilities in Kansas must satisfy the Kansas Department of Health and Environment childcare facility licensing requirements to receive a daycare license.

Licensed daycare homes and group daycare homes

To obtain a license for a licensed daycare home or group daycare home, you must complete the required documentation, maintain appropriate capacity requirements, and conduct background checks on all staff members and residents of the home who are older than 10 years old. Children enrolled in care, service workers, and family members who are at your daycare to interact with their child, volunteer to help with a special event, or visit before enrolling their child do not require background checks.

There is an $85 licensing fee for licensed daycare homes and an $87 licensing fee for group daycare homes. Additional local fees may apply.

Provider qualifications

To become a provider at a licensed daycare home or group daycare home, you must be 18 years old and complete certified first aid and CPR training and childcare-related training.

Capacity requirements

Licensed daycare homes and group daycare homes must maintain specific capacity requirements.

If there is one provider, the following capacity requirements must be maintained:
  • License capacity of 10 children with a maximum of seven children at least 18 months old but under five years of age and three children at least five years old but under 11 years of age
  • License capacity of 10 children with a maximum of one child under 18 months old, five children at least 18 months old but under five years of age, and four children at least five years old but under 11 years of age
  • License capacity of 9 children with a maximum of two children under 18 months old, four children at least 18 months old but under five years of age, and three children at least five years old but under 11 years of age
  • License capacity of 8 children with a maximum of three children under 18 months old, three children at least 18 months old but under five years of age, and two children at least five years old but under 11 years of age

If there are two providers, the following capacity requirements must be maintained:
  • License capacity of 12 children with a maximum of one child under 18 months old, eight children at least 18 months old but under five years of age, and three children at least five years old but under 11 years of age
  • License capacity of 12 children with a maximum of two children under 18 months old, seven children at least 18 months old but under five years of age, and three children at least five years old but under 11 years of age
  • License capacity of 12 children with a maximum of three children under 18 months old, six children at least 18 months old but under five years of age, and three children at least five years old but under 11 years of age
  • License capacity of 10 children with a maximum of four children under 18 months old, four children at least 18 months old but under five years of age, and two children at least five years old but under 11 years of age

Childcare centers

To receive a license for a childcare center, you must choose a name and legal structure for your center, complete the required documentation, maintain appropriate staff-to-child ratios, and conduct background checks on all staff members and volunteers. Childcare centers have a licensing fee of $75 plus $1 for each child. Additional local fees may apply.

Program director qualifications

A program director is responsible for implementing and supervising the childcare center. A program director must be on site for at least 35 hours per week. They may serve as a lead staff member if your facility is licensed for up to 60 children. If your facility is licensed for more than 60 children, you must employ a program director who has no other assigned responsibilities.

To become a program director of a childcare center, you must be at least 18 years old and meet the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s educational qualifications.

If your childcare center provides care for fewer than 13 children, you must have one of the following qualifications:
  • Six months of experience teaching in licensed facilities with children who are the same age as your children
  • Five observation sessions and 10 hours of workshops approved by the state licensing staff
  • A minimum of three semester hours in child development, early childhood education, and curriculum resources and supervised observation in a high school or college
  • A child development associate credential

If your childcare center provides care for between 13 and 24 children, you must have one of the following qualifications:
  • One year of teaching experience in licensed centers or preschools
  • Seven to nine semester hours in child development or early childhood education and three months' teaching experience in licensed centers or preschools
  • A child development associate credential

Program director and lead teacher training requirements

A lead teacher is a staff member who is at least 18 years old and has a high school diploma or equivalent. Program directors and lead teachers must have a health assessment and negative tuberculosis skin test and complete orientation, initial health and safety training, and systems of illness training. 

Lead teachers and program directors must also have pediatric first aid and CPR certification and medication administration training, even if your childcare center's policy states that medications will not be given at the facility.

Assistant program director qualifications

If your childcare center is licensed for more than 100 children, you must have an assistant program director who meets the requirements for a program director. If your childcare center is licensed for more than 160 children, the assistant program director must have no other assigned responsibilities.

Assistant teacher qualifications

Assistant teachers must be at least 16 years old and must participate in staff orientation. Assistant teachers must have a health assessment and negative tuberculosis skin test and complete orientation, initial health and safety training, and systems of illness training. 

Assistant teachers must also have pediatric first aid and CPR certification and medication administration training, even if your childcare center's policy states that medications will not be given at the facility.

Volunteer qualifications

Volunteers must be at least 14 years old. Any volunteer who is at least 16 years old can be counted in the staff-to-child ratio. Volunteers must have a health assessment and negative tuberculosis skin test and complete orientation, initial health and safety training, systems of illness training, pediatric first aid and CPR certification, in-service training, and systems of illness training if they are volunteering more than once and are counted in the staff-to-child ratio.

Ratio requirements

Childcare centers must meet specific group size requirements and staff-to-child ratios.

  • Infants (2 weeks to 12 months old): One staff member for three children (1:3); maximum of nine children total
  • Infants to 6 years old: One staff member for four children (1:4) with a maximum of two infants; maximum of eight children total with a maximum of four infants
  • Toddlers (12 months to 2 ½ years old, if walking alone): One staff member for five children (1:5); maximum of ten children total
  • Two years to three years old: One staff member for seven children (1:7); maximum of 14 children total
  • Two-and-a-half years to school age: One staff member for 10 children (1:10); maximum of 20 children total
  • Three years to school age: One staff member for 12 children (1:12); maximum of 24 children total

Childcare license application in Kansas

A childcare license application may take up to 90 days to process once it is complete. To obtain a childcare license for your licensed daycare home, group daycare home, or childcare center, complete the following steps:

Step 1: Contact your local building codes office

Contact your homeowner association (HOA) or city or county building codes office to verify that you can open a licensed facility.

Step 2: Attend an orientation

Attend a required licensed childcare facility orientation. Contact your county's surveyor to schedule your orientation.

Step 3: Register for CLARIS

Register for the Kansas Childcare Licensing And Regulation Information System (CLARIS).

Step 4: Submit your documentation

Submit a childcare center licensing application or licensed daycare home/group daycare home application, childcare center forms or licensed daycare home/group daycare home forms, and payment through the CLARIS system or mail.

Step 5: Complete an inspection 

Childcare centers and group daycare homes are inspected by the local health department each year to make sure the facility is complying with regulations that protect the children’s health, safety, and well-being. 

Step 6: Obtain fire approval

Obtain fire approval from the Kansas State Fire Marshal's office.

Once you have submitted your childcare license application, create a business plan and determine your marketing strategies for your daycare center. After you have received your license and you are ready to enroll children in your daycare program, you can use administrative software such as brightwheel's center management tool to create your admissions process and simplify your reporting and record keeping.

How to stay compliant with a daycare license in Kansas

The Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment will carefully inspect your facility to ensure it is in compliance with Kansas childcare laws and regulations.

Follow these procedures to renew your daycare home, group daycare home, or childcare center license.

Licensed daycare home and group daycare home license renewal

A licensed daycare home and group daycare home license is valid for one year. To stay compliant with your daycare home and group daycare home license, you must renew your license within 30 days of its expiration. If you renew your license after the 30-day period, you will need to pay the renewal fee and an additional late fee.

To renew your license, you must submit the following to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment:

  • A renewal application
  • A licensing fee
  • Background check information for anyone at least 10 years old who resides in the facility, and anyone whose activities involve supervised or unsupervised access to children

Childcare center license renewal

A childcare center license is valid for one year. To stay compliant with your childcare center license, you must renew your license within 30 days of its expiration. If you renew your license after the 30-day period, you will need to pay the renewal fee plus a late fee equal to the license renewal fee.

To renew your license, you must submit the following to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment:

  • A renewal application
  • A licensing fee
  • Background check information for anyone whose activities involve supervised or unsupervised access to children

Final thoughts

Securing the correct childcare license for your facility is one of the first steps to opening a daycare. Becoming a licensed childcare facility shows the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and families in your community that your program complies with the latest health and safety guidelines and is committed to providing quality child care.

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