Changes to the Fairfax County Home Child Care Facilities Ordinance Effective February 1, 2013

After approval by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, revisions to the Fairfax County Home Child Care Facilities Ordinance became effective, Feb. 1, 2013. Chapter 30, Articles 1 and 3 of the County Code regulates Home Child Care Facilities in which a person cares for five or fewer children. The ordinance is intended to protect the health and safety of children who receive care in family child care homes.

If you have questions, please contact the Office for Children, Community Education and Provider Services Division at 703-324-8000 or 8100, TTY 711. Family child care providers with a Fairfax County permit who have questions about the ordinance, please contact your child care specialist.

Summary of Revisions to the Fairfax County 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 and include additional barrier crimes approved during the 2012 session of the Virginia General Assembly.

Section 30-3-2 a: Annual permit application, issuance or denial
The provider and all adult household residents are required to have a TB screening bi-annually. Previously the provider was the only adult in the household required to have a TB screening bi-annually.

Providers are required to have a written emergency preparedness plan.

Section 30-3-4 b: Operator Qualifications
All new and renewing providers are required to complete 16 hours of training annually. The new requirement will be phased in over a three-year period. Previously, new providers were required to complete 12 hours of training annually; renewing providers were required to complete 6 hours of training annually.

Section 30-3-6 c: Physical facilities, equipment and operation
Providers are 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 amendments also require the provider to provide appropriate sleeping equipment during rest times as identified by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Providers who serve meals or snacks to the children in care are required to follow the most recent USDA nutritional guidelines.

The following new sections/items have been added:

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 including:
- The provider and another person 15 years or older shall be present and able to supervise the children.
- The home child care facility shall annually obtain written permission from the parent of each child who participates.
- The provider must obtain a written statement from the parent advising of a child’s swimming skills before the child is allowed in water above the child’s shoulder height.
- Either the provider or the other person 15 years or older must be currently certified in basic water rescue, community water safety, water safety instruction, or lifeguarding. The certification shall be obtained from a national organization such as the American Red Cross or the YMCA.

The addition of a drowning hazard safety policy:
- Access to the water in above-ground swimming pools shall be prevented by locking and securing the ladder in place or storing the ladder in a place inaccessible to children.
- A non-climbable barrier at least four feet high such as, but not limited to, a fence or impenetrable hedge shall surround outdoor play areas located within 30 feet of drowning hazards such as, but not limited to, in-ground swimming or wading pools, ponds, or fountains not enclosed by safety fences.
- Hot tubs, spas, and whirlpools shall not be used by children in care, and shall be covered with safety covers while children are in care.

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 amendments include the following:
- Telephone service shall be available, operable and accessible during the home child care facility's hours of operation.
- Carbon monoxide alarms are 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 are required for fireplaces and wood stoves.


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