Child Care Centers

Child care centers are businesses that provide supervision and care at least 4 hours per day for children from birth through school age. The Environmental Health Division inspects child care centers at least once every 6 months.

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Childcare Center FAQ's

How many times per year is a childcare inspection done?
Twice per year an unannounced inspection is made by Environmental Health staff. Additional inspections are required if a childcare center receives a "provisional" or "disapproved" rating. 

Does the Health Department issue permits for daycare centers?
No. While the Health Department is responsible for inspections, the license is actually issued by the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education

Are grades posted in a daycare?
Yes, a placard is posted in each daycare showing the result of the inspection as: Superior, Approved, Provisional, or Disapproved. Child Care Center Rules (PDF) offer more information on inspection results and guidelines for each grade. 

What do I need to do if I am planning to open a childcare center?
You will need to speak with someone from Environmental Health to discuss your proposal. A plan review application (PDF) will need to be filled out and turned in. You will also need to discuss your plans with the building inspections office and fire marshal. If your proposed business is served by a well or septic system, additional investigations will be needed. You will also need to apply for a daycare license from the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education.

What are the conditions that require a daycare license? The law defines child care as: 3 or more unrelated children under 13 years of age, receiving care from a non-relative, on a regular basis of at least once a week, and for more than 4 hours per day but less than 24 hours. It is only when all of these conditions exist that regulation is required.