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  • Do I need a license to care for children in my home?
    • If you will care for children in your own home and will care for 3 or fewer children other than your own biological or adopted children, a license is not required.

      If you will care for children in your own home and the only children in care are your own biological or adopted children, children related to you or children who reside with you, a license is not required regardless of the number of children in care.

      If you will care for children in your own home, and the total number of children in care is 4 or more, not including your own biological or adopted children, a license is required.

      If you are unsure if you need a license, call the Child Care Licensing Unit (CCLU).

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  • Do I need a license to care for children in a location other than a private home?
    • Anyone who intends to care for 1 or more children in a location other than a private home must be licensed. The programs listed below do not require a license:
      • Programs operated by public or private school systems
      • Programs operated solely for the purpose of religious instruction or offered in conjunction with religious services while parents are in attendance
      • Programs operated strictly to provide instruction to children such as athletics, crafts, music or dance
      • Programs operated as a service to parents who are on the premises or in the immediate vicinity and readily available, such as a shopping center, ski area, bowling alley, health center or other similar operation
      • Recreation programs operated by the Boys' and Girls' Club, Girls, Inc., YMCA, YWCA or any school or church group.

If you are unsure that the program you are operating or proposing needs a license, contact the Child Care Licensing Unit (CCLU).

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  • How do I get a license?
    • You can contact the Child Care Licensing Unit (CCLU) to request an information package that explains the licensing process or an application package if you know that you want to apply for a license. The application package includes the application form, forms for required attachments and a copy of applicable NH Administrative Rules. Contact CCLU for technical assistance.

      When CCLU receives the completed application and required attachments, a Licensing Coordinator will visit your home to assess whether you are in compliance with the minimum licensing requirements. Although CCLU has up to 120 days to respond to an application, licensing new programs is a priority. A new or renewed license cannot be issued until fingerprint and state background check results are received.

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  • How much does it cost to become a licensed child care provider?
    • BCCL charges $15 for an application package that includes a copy of the licensing rules. The $15 covers the costs of reproducing application materials. There is a cost associated with fingerprinting and state criminal background checks. Also, some towns and cities charge a fee for fire or health inspections or for zoning approval applications. Other costs related to meeting the minimum licensing requirements include the costs of required physical examinations, toys, equipment and learning materials, or safety upgrades necessary to bring the facility to compliance with minimum licensing requirements.
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  • How long is a license valid?
    • In general, licenses are valid for a 3 year period. Programs must submit a license renewal application no less than 3 months before the expiration date of their active license.

      New programs are issued a permit that is valid for 6 months. The Child Care Licensing Unit will make an unannounced visit during that 6-month period to determine whether the program is operating in compliance with the applicable rules/laws. If a program is found to be in compliance, a license will be issued for the balance of the 3-year licensing period.

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  • How often will a Licensing Coordinator visit my program and how long do the visits usually last?
    • The Child Care Licensing Unit is mandated to complete at least 1 unannounced monitoring visit to all licensed programs annually. The Child Care Licensing Unit may make as many additional visits as is necessary to ensure that a program is operating in compliance with the NH Statutes and Administrative Rules and will conduct investigations of complaints alleging violations of licensing laws and rules.

      Visits generally last between 2 to 5 hours, but may be longer or shorter, depending upon the size of the program and the issues that must be addressed.

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  • What can I do if I have a concern about something that happened in a licensed or unlicensed child care program?
    • Call the Child Care Licensing Unit. We will ask a series of questions to obtain the specifics of your concerns and determine if the information you provide is first-hand information or information a child who has first- hand information told you. Staff will determine whether your concerns constitute any violations of NH Statutes or Administrative Rules and the appropriate CCLU response. To be informed of the investigation results, you will need to provide your name and address. If you suspect that a child may have been abused or neglected, contact the Child Abuse Report Line at (800) 894-5533.
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  • How can I get information about any previous violations found in at particular child care program?
    • The Child Care Licensing Unit issues a Statement of Findings for each visit to licensed child care programs other than unfounded complaint investigations. A Statement of Findings is a report of any violations found. Programs must provide a written Corrective Action Plan for each violation on the Statement of Findings. You can review any Statements of Findings and Corrective Action Plans for the two most recent visits at the program—the most recent should be posted and the older one available for review. Visit history can be viewed at our Child Care Search Web site.
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  • Should I send my child to my licensed child care program when he or she is sick?
    • In general, NH Child Care Program Licensing Rules require that a child must be excluded from care if:

    • The child has symptoms of a contagious illness or symptoms of illness that impairs or prohibits participation in regular child care program activities; or

      Due to illness, the child requires more care than child care personnel are able to provide without compromising the health and safety of the sick child or the other children.

    • If a parent is unsure whether they should send their child to a child care program when he or she is sick, they should consult with the child care program staff. Child care programs that are unsure about whether a child should be at the program or not due to illness should contact Bureau of Infectious Disease Control. Child care programs have the right to develop policies that prohibit attendance by sick children. Those policies can be more restrictive than NH Administrative Rules.
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  • Is a licensed child care program required to have insurance?
    • The Child Care Licensing Unit highly recommends that all licensed child care programs consult with an insurance expert and maintain adequate liability insurance coverage; however, NH Child Care Program Licensing Rules do not require insurance coverage. Licensed child care programs that have liability insurance coverage must maintain insurance coverage documentation on file at the program site. Licensed child care programs that do not have liability insurance coverage must maintain site and must provide the documentation to the parent(s) of each child before the child is enrolled in the program.
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  • Am I allowed to have pets in my licensed child care program?
    • Licensed child care programs may have pets, with certain restrictions. Dogs and cats must have current rabies vaccinations and pets cannot be allowed on food preparation surfaces or food service surfaces. Children cannot have access to litter pans, animal feces or urine. Licensing rules prohibit pets that pose a health or safety risk to children. Some examples of pets that DHHS has determined pose a health or safety risk to children are: aggressive or vicious dogs or any other aggressive or vicious animals; bats; turtles; tortoises; snakes; iguanas; other lizards or reptiles; hedgehogs; parakeets; and parrots and parrot-like birds.
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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
129 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3852

copyright 2016. State of New Hampshire