Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Change Rules to Allow up to 12 Children in Home Child Care Facilities

June 19, 2013

News Highlights

  • With either a special permit or special exception, home child care providers may now care for up to 12 children.
  • Special permit fee for home child care providers was cut by 60 percent to $435.
  • County zoning staff will hold workshops for providers later this summer or fall on how to file an application.

If they get a special permit or special exception, state-licensed, home child care providers may now care for up to 12 children. This is due to a change to zoning rules that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors signed off on at its June 18 meeting.

Until now, zoning rules capped the maximum number of children at 10. Providers may continue to care for up to seven children in a single family home or five in a townhome or apartment without zoning approval.

To make it easier to apply, the board also cut the special permit fee by more than 60 percent—from $1,100 to $435. To get a special permit, providers must go before the Board of Zoning Appeals. However in the county’s planned development districts, commonly referred to as P Districts, the process to request up to 12 children will continue to be through a special exception approved by the Board of Supervisors. This does not include the county's planned residential community districts, commonly known as the PRC District, which include Reston, Burke Center and Cardinal Forest. The PRC District will continue to be subject to the special permit process. The fee for the special exception will remain at $1,100.

County officials expect that many existing providers will need to get either a special permit or a special exception. There are 437 state-licensed providers in the county, and 362 are licensed for 11 or 12 children. The board's action aligns the county's zoning rules with state licenses for home child care providers. The state licenses providers to care for up to 12 children, and the county regulations now match this state maximum if they apply for a special permit or special exception.

Under an extended grace period approved by the Board of Supervisors, providers are expected to submit a complete special permit or special exception application by March 31, 2014. 

As part of the approval process, consideration will be given to whether there is enough parking available—either on the street or the property itself.

No matter how many children they supervise, all in-home, state-licensed providers must follow the following county rules:

  • They must live at the place where they offer care, or they may provide care from another home if it is the primary residence for one of the children under their care.
  • They may not put up any signs outside the home.
  • They may have one paid or unpaid non-resident assistant work at the site between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., unless they receive special permit approval for additional assistants.
  • They must follow the regulations in Title 63.2, Chapter 17 of state law.

During this summer or fall, county zoning staff will conduct workshops to help providers file special permit or special exception applications. Additional details will be provided in the coming months. For questions about applying for a special permit or special exception for home child care facilities, contact the Fairfax County Zoning Evaluation Division at 703-324-1290, TTY 711.

For questions about the new zoning rules, contact the Fairfax County Zoning Administration Division at 703-324-1314, TTY 711.

If providers have questions about other home child care regulations, they should contact the Fairfax County Office for Children at 703-324-7500, TTY 711.

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