I've updated links and am sharing this to the top.
So, I was reminded of something today when a family member called me. I've never actually written a post on how to go about starting a daycare. I am humbly apologetic to those who may have found the blog and needed to know how to begin a daycare. I started the blog in May 2010 (on a different website even) without thinking about the prospective providers. I will now remedy my error. :) ***Please note that regulations that will change daycares in KS are being proposed. The current regulations may change a little in the middle of you starting your daycare.
To start a KS daycare (or just start looking into it), these are my best recommendations.
1. Find out your local contact information for daycares in your county/area. The local contacts can be found here, listed by county. If it directs you to a website, you should find the childcare licensing information by going to the part about the health department.
2. Schedule or attend (an already scheduled--SG county has monthly scheduled orientations) orientation at your local health department. (Less populated areas of KS may do these over the phone.)
3. Call your local contact to see who your local fire marshal is. I would schedule a walk through of the area you are planning to use. *This is important because the fire marshal will inform you of how many/where fire alarms should be located. They can be expensive, so you'll know how many to expect. Also, you may plan to have the kids in the basement, but your basement may not be acceptable as a place for the kids. (It has to have two means of egress.)
4. Review this checklist. This is the same list that an inspector uses to evaluate your house. This will guide you in what needs to be locked up/stored high.
5. If you are ready to go on with your daycare, fill out the paper application and mail it to your local office or fill out the online application here. *The fire marshal should have come out a second time to complete your official inspection before you send off your application. The orientation class and CPR/First Aid are also requirements. ***Applications can take awhile (possibly 3-6 months), so you should plan to have the application completed in advance of when you want to start your daycare.
6. [This is optional.] See if a surveyor from your area will come by to check out your home before making an official visit. It would be easier to know if you need to lock something up/move something before a formal visit. Plus, they won't bring the carbon-paper forms with them...yet (They're really busy, but they might be able to swing by.)
Before starting a KS daycare, you can make sure you're ready and know what to expect. These are some ways to prepare/questions to ask yourself/things to know.
1. Contact your local contact for information on the local resource and referral agency. My agency (Childstart) sends out a checklist to use when deciding if a home daycare is for you. I would assume that the other referral agencies would do the same.
2. Be good with keeping track of expenses. Most important: Be sure you can afford to do daycare. Taxes are not taken out during the year, so you might have to pay taxes to the Federal and KS governments. Money should be set aside during the year so that it's not a huge blow to you at tax time. (This may not happen the first year--initial daycare setup costs, but I would be prepared to pay in to the government.)
3. Figure out if you can afford the startup costs. If you don't have the items already, it can be expensive to accumulate children's toys and other needs. *I recommend Craigslist, Freecycle, and consignment sales for items.
4. Know that swingsets have to have appropriate ground cover. The grass/dirt is not approved.
5. Ask yourself if your spouse/partner will be ok will having small children around the house. The house gets beat up a little--they're kids. I've got food/chocolate milk on my ceilings, crayon on my table, spills everywhere, fingerprints on the walls. (Having the marks of your chosen career as daily reminders can take a toll on your spouse/partner. I would consider his/her feelings about this.)
I've run out of thoughts for now, but I'll update if I think of anything else. Please leave comments/questions in the comment section.