Before you embark on developing a Child Care Business Plan, you should first research and understand the regulatory system for early childhood programs in your community. South Carolina has regulations and a licensing system to ensure that there are minimum standards of care for young children in out-of-home care, but it is also imperative that you become familiar with the child care regulations in your community.
State & Local Regulations
Contact the Department of Social Services, Early Care and Education at to schedule a child care licensing orientation. Your assigned licensing representative will want to see and approve your building design prior to construction/renovations.
The Department of Social Services, Early Care and Education enforces laws and regulations established by the South Carolina Legislature to ensure that child care facilities provide the basic health and safety requirements for all children in their care.
If you have not determined a location or do not have one in mind, contact your local zoning office and request a listing of communities where child care is allowed. If a list is not available, you will have to determine possible locations and then return to zoning for approval. Do not buy or lease any property until you have written approval from the local zoning department; it can be very costly and time-consuming to have a facility approved.
In some communities you are required to have an occupancy permit. You will need to find out the specific building requirements for child care facilities. Call and request these specifications so you will be aware of construction and building needs. Use this as a guide as you develop building plans for construction or renovation of your chosen site.
Contact the local fire department in your community for the fire safety regulations and requirements for your facility. They will help you with the required location of doors, ways doors should open, acceptable wall and floor coverings, and fire systems. The fire department can provide you with appropriate evacuation plans as required by licensing laws.
Child care programs require several types of insurance coverage. There are requirements for general liability insurance, excess umbrella liability, student accident, vehicle insurance for transporting children, worker's compensation, staff medical benefits, theft, fire and other casualty insurance. Call several insurance companies to discuss what policies and plans they have to offer. Request quotes in writing so that you are able to compare policies. For more information, visit http://www.manta.com/mb_43_A2_41/insurance/south_carolina.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
ADA is the federal legislation that has impact on building and/or remodeling child care facilities. This important legislation will guide you in making sure your facility meets the specifications for individuals with disabilities.