What's New/What's Changing
Check this section regularly for notices of major changes affecting child care in Virginia.
NEW Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff- Virginia’s Health and Safety Training Course
This FREE online course introduces child care staff to important health and safety information and addresses other topics such as child development, inclusion, and Virginia’s Subsidy and Licensing Programs. Participants will earn a 10-hour training certificate upon completion and a CEU!! Completion of the training is required for all staff who work in a program that participates in the Virginia Child Care Subsidy Program, but all Virginia child care staff are welcome and strongly encouraged to take this FREE course. Please check with your employer to determine if your program participates in Virginia’s Subsidy Program and you are required to complete the training. To access the course, or for more information including FAQs, click on the Provider tab at the top of this page and go to Training & Professional Development.
- Fingerprint Checks
Effective July 1, 2017 all licensed child day centers, licensed family day homes, family day systems, family day homes approved by a family day system, registered family day homes, religious exempt child day centers, and child day centers and family day homes that enter into a contract with VDSS or a local to provide child care services funded by the Child Care and Development Block Grant are required to submit a sworn statement, national fingerprint-based criminal history record checks, search results from the child abuse and neglect registry in Virginia, and search results from a child abuse and neglect registry in any other state a person has lived in the past five years to meet the requirements of a background check. VDSS is currently developing an implementation plan for obtaining fingerprint based checks.
Additional guidance and procedures regarding background investigations include a barrier crime list; a list of convictions requiring registration in the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry; and Technical Assistance on Background Checks for Child Welfare Agencies .
Effective July 1, 2017, the list of barrier crimes moved from § 63.2-1719 to § 19.2-392.02 of the Code of Virginia. New barrier crimes have been added to the list along with substantially similar offenses under the laws of another jurisdiction.
- Virginia’s State Child Care Plan Has Been Approved
Virginia’s State Child Care and Development Fund Plan received federal approval in June 2016. This plan provides detailed information on the ways in which Virginia is working to ensure that families have access to high quality child care and early learning experiences that will improve the odds of success for parents and children who rely on child care.
- Family Day Home Licensure – Threshold Change
Effective July 1, 2016, the number of children that a family day home may care for before it must be licensed changed. Family day homes are now required to obtain a state-issued license from the Virginia Department of Social Services when caring for more than 4 children (not including the provider’s biological children or other children legally residing in the home). If the family day home cares for more than 4 children under the age of two, including the provider’s biological children and children who legally reside in the home, the family day home provider must possess a state-issued license or a voluntarily registered certificate from VDSS. Note: If all children are the biological children of the provider, meaning related to the provider by blood or marriage, the home is not required to be licensed.
- Joseph’s Law
Adding an additional layer of protection for children in child care, Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed a new law, effective July 1, 2016, honoring Joseph Allen, the Chesterfield toddler who died in a fire in an illegally-operating family day home in 2014.
According to § 18.2-371.1 of the Code of Virginia, it is a Class 4 felony when a person responsible for the care of a child, by willful act or willful omission or refusal to provide care for the child’s health, causes or permits serious injury to the life or health of the child.
A willful act or willful omission includes operating or engaging in the conduct of a child welfare agency (which includes family day homes and child day centers) without first obtaining a license or after the license has been revoked or has expired and not been renewed.
This enhanced penalty provides accountability for child care providers operating illegally when a child suffers death or serious bodily injury and could deter providers from operating illegally due to this increased penalty.
- Changes to the Child Care Subsidy Program
Effective April 1, 2016, several provisions of Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program changed including: the length of time that a family can receive assistance through the program is capped at 6 years, cooperation with the Division of Child Support Enforcement is required as a condition of eligibility unless good cause exists for not doing so, applicants must be at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor (if a parent is under the age of 18 and not emancipated, the minor’s parents would apply for the program), and the time that a local department of social services has to process subsidy program applications is reduced from 45 to 30 days. (Virginia Administrative Code, Chapter 661)
- Unlicensed Family Day Homes Must Provide Written Notice to Parents
Effective July 1, 2015, if a family day home does not have a state-issued license or a voluntarily registered certificate from the Virginia Department of Social Services, the family day home must notify parents in writing that the home is not regulated by the Department and must also provide a link to the Virginia Department of Social Services website where parents can obtain additional information regarding child care licensure. This provision does not apply when all children receiving care are related to the family day home provider by blood or marriage. (Code of Virginia, Section 63.2-1704.1)
- Sex Offenders Prohibited in a Family Day Home
Effective July 1, 2015, it is now unlawful to operate a family day home if the provider or any household member, employee or volunteer in the family day home has been convicted of an offense that requires registration in the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry. It is recommended but not required that providers search the Virginia Sex Offender Registry (https://sex-offender.vsp.virginia.gov/sor/) to determine if an individual is listed and print out the results of the search. If you are unsure if a crime requires registration, a list of convictions that are required to be reported can be found here.
- Local Governments to Report Business Licenses Issued to Child Care Providers
Effective July 1, 2015, Local Commissioners of the Revenue or other local business license officials are now required to report to the Virginia Department of Social Services two times each year the name, address, and contact information of any child day center or family day home to which a business license was issued. (Code of Virginia, Section 63.2-1701.1)