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Licensed Child Care Center

  • Centers provide care for 13 or more children.
  • A child care center must be Licensed or Approved if the program operates more than four hours a day and more than two days a week
  • Child Care Centers that are publicly funded by federal, state, county or city monies have Approvals instead of Licenses. Requirements for an Approval are the same as requirements for a License.
  • A License or Approval expires 2 years from the issue date.
  • The center is inspected before receiving a license, and visits are scheduled with the facility during the re-licensing process which occurs every two years. Unannounced visits are made annually and to investigate complaints.

Registered Faith-Based Child Care Centers

  • Faith-based centers provide care for 13 or more children and are sponsored by a religious organization.
  • A faith-based child care center must be Registered and has the option of being Licensed if it operates more than four hours a day or more than two days a week. If this type of facility chooses to be Licensed, it must meet the requirements listed for a Licensed Child Care Center.
  • A Registration expires 2 years from the issue date.
  • Visits are scheduled with the facility during the re-licensing process which occurs every two years. Unannounced visits are made annually and to investigate complaints.

Licensed Group Child Care Home

  • Group Child Care Homes provide care for 7 to 12 children in the home of the child care provider. They may care for up to 8 children without an additional caregiver.
  • When attendance reaches 9 or there are more than 3 children under the age of 24 months, an additional caregiver must be present at all times.
  • All Group Child Care Homes licensed after September 1, 2009 must meet the same fire codes as Licensed Child Care Centers.
  • Some counties no longer allow Group Child Care Homes. Check with your county zoning office to find out.
  • A License expires 2 years from the issue date.
  • The home is inspected before receiving a license, and visits are scheduled with the facility during the re-licensing process which occurs every two years. Unannounced visits are made annually and to investigate complaints.

Licensed Family Child Care Home

  • Licensed Family Child Care Homes provide care for up to 5 children at any given time within the home of the child care provider.
  • A License or Registration is required if a person provides care to more than one unrelated family of children on a regular basis (more than four hours a day or more than two days a week).
  • All applicants must have written approval from their local Zoning Board before a License can be issued.
  • A License expires 2 years from the issue date.
  • The home is inspected before receiving a license, and visits are scheduled with the facility during the re-licensing process which occurs every two years. Unannounced visits are made annually and to investigate complaints.

Registered Family Child Care Home

  • A Registered Family Child Care Home provides care for up to 6 children at any given time within the home of the child care provider. A Registration or License is required if a person provides care to more than one unrelated family of children on a regular basis (more than four hours day or more than two days a week).
  • All applicants must have written approval from their local Zoning Board before a Registration can be issued.
  • A Registration expires 1 year from the issue date.
  • Most family homes are registered not licensed.  Registered family homes are required to register by mail every year.  In 2014, legislation was passed that allows Child Care Licensing to make one unannounced visit to these homes each year.  Unannounced visits are also made in response to a complaint.
The DSS Division of Early Care and Education is required to provide information for Family, Friend, and Neighbor providers who serve SC Voucher children only. For more information, please call 800-476-0199.