Understanding Family Child Care Regulations
State, county and local governments regulate family child care in our community. Below is an overview of the legal requirements for family child care providers. If you have questions and you live in Fairfax County, call 703-324-8100. If you live in the following areas, call:
City of Falls Church at 703-248-5080, or visit their website.
City of Fairfax at 703-385-7820, or visit their website.
Town of Herndon at 703-787-7380, or visit their website.
Town of Vienna at 703-255-6341, or visit their website.
It is your responsibility to comply with your apartment and homeowners association bylaws and regulations about operating a home business before you obtain a home child care permit.
A. Fairfax County Home Child Care Permit (Four or Fewer Children)
• To provide child care for up to four children other than your own, you
must apply for a county permit. Family child care providers in Fairfax
County must have a Home Child Care Permit to operate a child care
business in their homes. The provider must be present and responsible for
the home child care facility's day-to-day operations.
• The permit is valid for one year and requires home health, safety and fire inspections for annual renewal.
B. Virginia State Family Day Home License (Five or More Children)
• To provide child care for five or more children other than your own, you must apply for a Virginia State Family Day Home license.
• For more information about the state license and assistance in obtaining the license, call the State Department of Social Services, Division of Licensing at 703-934-1505, or visit their website.
C. State of Virginia Child Care Center License
• To provide child care for 13 or more children, you must have a Child Care Center license from the State of Virginia.
• For more information, call the State Department of Social Services' Division of Licensing at 703-934-1505.
STEP THREE: You must comply with all zoning requirements.
• The Fairfax County child care permit authorizes you to care for a maximum of four children (in addition to the children who live with you). You will be in compliance with zoning requirements if you live in a single family detached home, a multiple family home or a mobile home and have a Fairfax County child care permit.
• If you decide to apply for a state license, you may care for a maximum of seven children in addition to the children who live with you (in a single detached home).
• If you want to care for eight, nine or 10 children maximum, you must
apply for a special permit. There is a $1,065.00 application fee for this
permit and it is not refundable. A special permit requires a public
hearing with the Board of Zoning Appeals. For more information, call the
Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning at 703-324-1290.
In other jurisdictions, zoning requirements may include a special use permit or a home occupancy permit. Call the numbers at the top of the page for more information.
STEP FOUR: Complete the permit requirements.
Obtaining a family child care permit is the first step toward becoming a family child care provider in Fairfax County. The permit process requires:
- A completed application.
- A yearly application fee.
- Child Protective Services background check on residents in the home 14 years of age and older.
- Criminal background checks on all adults 18 years and older living in the home.
- Sworn Statement or Affirmation form checks on all adults 18 years and older living in the home.
- A home health and safety visit.
- A fire safety inspection.
- Tuberculosis test for all adults working with children in care.
- CPR/first aid certification.
- A written emergency plan and supplies.
A written sick child care policy.
Once all of the above are completed, a permit will be issued within four weeks. The permit must be renewed annually. Each renewal requires a new home health and safety visit and fire safety inspection. When you renew your permit, you will need to provide proof of 16 hours of professional training your first permit year and verification of a current certification in CPR and first aid.
STEP FIVE: Contact the Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration for a Business, Professional and Occupational License.
• In Fairfax County, the Business, Professional and Occupational license
is a business license — not a license to do child care.
• If the income from your child care business is $10,000 or less, you do not need to pay a fee and you will not receive a BPOL certificate.
• The BPOL tax is $30 for businesses with a gross annual income of more than $10,000 but less than $50,000. The tax rate increases with the amount of gross annual income.
• For more information, call the Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration at 703-222-8234. In other jurisdictions, providers apply for the BPOL through their local governments. License fees and schedules may vary. For more information, call the numbers at the top of the page.
• In Fairfax County, providers must pay a business personal property tax
on property, such as cribs, high chairs and toys used in their
• Business personal property tax returns are due May 1 each year for the proceeding year.
• The business personal property tax is based on the assessed value of taxed property which depreciates at a fixed rate each year.
• For more information, call the Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration at 703-222-8234. In other jurisdictions, providers pay the tax to their local governments. For information, call the numbers at the top of the page.