Proposed Child Care Ordinance Amendment Works its Way Through County Process, Board Discusses At Meeting


Proposed Child Care Ordinance Amendment Works its Way Through County Process, Board Discusses at Meeting
Staff continues to develop options for amending the Zoning Ordinance to allow up to 12 children to be cared for in a single family home if otherwise approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Right now the maximum number of children allowed in Fairfax County is ten. On October 2, County staff briefed the Board at its Development Process Subcommittee on its current findings. The Board learned, for example, that Loudoun County allows up to nine children, but includes providers’ children in that count. Prince William allows up to nine children on larger lots (otherwise five children are permitted); and Montgomery County allows up to eight in most residential districts and up to 12 in some, but includes providers’ children in those counts (Fairfax does not count providers’ children). On October 9, the Child Care Advisory Council was also briefed. To date, staff has developed a shortened/simplified Special Permit Application Package and reviewed “contact with the zoning administrator” forms for 74 providers who are currently licensed for up to 12 children. At this time, the Board hopes to authorize a public hearing in late November or early December for a hearing before the Planning Commission January 16, 2013 followed by a Board of Supervisors’ hearing in February.

A public hearing to address the proposed changes to the Fairfax County Home Child Care Facilities Ordinance was held on February 28. Additionally, this information was presented at public meetings in April and July. There are additional proposed amendments to the Home Child Care Facilities Ordinance:

Section 30-1-1: Barrier offenses
The list of offenses that bar an applicant from obtaining a County home child care permit have been updated so that they are the same as the offenses that bar an applicant from receiving a state child care license.

Section 30-3-2 a: Annual permit application, issuance or denial
The provider and all adult household members will be required to have a TB screening bi-annually. Currently the provider is the only adult in the household required to have a TB screening every two years.
Providers will be required to have a written emergency preparedness plan.

Section 30-3-4 b: Operator Qualifications
All new and renewing providers will be required to complete 16 hours of training annually. The new requirement will be phased in over a three-year period. Currently, new providers are required to complete 12 hours of training annually; renewing providers are required to complete six hours of training annually. The new requirement would bring County-permitted providers into parity with state-licensed child care providers, who must complete 16 hours of training annually.

Section 30-3-6 c: Physical facilities, equipment and operation
Providers will be required to provide adequate space for each child to allow free movement and active play indoors and out.
Providers are currently required to provide a crib for overnight care. The proposed amendments also would require the provider to provide appropriate sleeping equipment during rest times as identified by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Additionally, staff proposes adding the following new sections/items:
New Section 30-3-4.1: Substitute Care Providers
When a provider must be away from the home child care facility, a substitute care provider may be used. Substitute care shall not exceed 240 hours per calendar year. Any substitute care provider must be an adult. All substitutes must: pass criminal background checks, be certified in first aid, be certified annually in CPR and receive a TB screening every two years.

Section 30-3-6 q & r: Physical facilities, equipment and operation
The addition of regulations for swimming and wading activities.

New Section 30-3-6-1: Home child care facility fire safety requirements
The Fire and Rescue Department has updated all fire safety items, currently Chapter 30, according to Fairfax County Code Chapter 62: Fire Protection Code. All fire safety items have been grouped into a new section. New requirements included in the proposed amendments include the following:
- A landline telephone will be required.
- Carbon monoxide alarms will be required.
- Stored machinery must be inaccessible to the children in care.
- Any room used as a sleeping area must have two means of exit, as required by the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.
- Inspections will be required for fireplaces and wood stoves.

Some of the proposed amendments to the ordinance will result in additional costs to the provider. These include the requirement that additional adults in the household have a TB screening, CPR be renewed annually, the provider have a landline telephone, the provider have a carbon monoxide alarm in the home, and fireplace and woodstove inspections and cleaning if applicable. For additional information regarding the proposed amendments please go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ofc/proposed-child-care-ordinance-changes.htm.


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