Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 63.2. Welfare (Social Services)
10/22/2020

Article 2. Unlicensed Programs.

§ 63.2-1715. (Effective until July 1, 2021) Exemptions from licensure.

A. The following programs are not child day programs and shall not be required to be licensed:

1. A program of instructional experience in a single focus, such as, but not limited to, computer science, archaeology, sport clinics, or music, if children under the age of six do not attend at all and if no child is allowed to attend for more than 25 days in any three-month period commencing with enrollment. This exemption does not apply if children merely change their enrollment to a different focus area at a site offering a variety of activities and such children's attendance exceeds 25 days in a three-month period.

2. Programs of instructional or recreational activities wherein no child under age six attends for more than six hours weekly with no class or activity period to exceed one and one-half hours, and no child six years of age or above attends for more than six hours weekly when school is in session or 12 hours weekly when school is not in session. Competition, performances and exhibitions related to the instructional or recreational activity shall be excluded when determining the hours of program operation.

3. Instructional programs offered by private schools that serve school-age children and that satisfy compulsory attendance laws or provide services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended, and programs of school-sponsored extracurricular activities that are focused on single interests such as, but not limited to, music, sports, drama, civic service, or foreign language.

4. Instructional programs offered by public schools that serve preschool-age children, satisfy compulsory attendance laws, or provide services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended, and programs of school-sponsored extracurricular activities that are focused on single interests such as, but not limited to, music, sports, drama, civic service, or foreign language.

5. Early intervention programs for children eligible under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended, wherein no child attends for more than a total of six hours per week.

6. Practice or competition in organized competitive sports leagues.

7. Programs of religious instruction, such as Sunday schools, vacation Bible schools, Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah classes, and nurseries offered by religious institutions and provided for the duration of specified religious services or related activities to allow parents or guardians or their designees who are on site to attend such religious services and activities.

8. A program of instructional or athletic experience operated during the summer months by, and as an extension of, an accredited private elementary, middle, or high school program as set forth in § 22.1-19 and administered by the Virginia Council for Private Education.

B. The following child day programs shall not be required to be licensed:

1. A child day program or child day center that has obtained an exemption pursuant to § 63.2-1716.

2. A program where, by written policy given to and signed by a parent or guardian, school-age children are free to enter and leave the premises without permission. A program that would qualify for this exemption except that it assumes responsibility for the supervision, protection, and well-being of several children with disabilities who are mainstreamed shall not be subject to licensure.

3. A program that operates no more than a total of 20 program days in the course of a calendar year, provided that programs serving children under age six operate no more than two consecutive weeks without a break of at least a week.

4. Child-minding services that are not available for more than three hours per day for any individual child offered on site in commercial or recreational establishments if the parent or guardian (i) can be contacted and can resume responsibility for the child's supervision within 30 minutes and (ii) is receiving or providing services or participating in activities offered by the establishment.

5. A certified preschool or nursery school program operated by a private school that is accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the State Board of Education pursuant to § 22.1-19 and complies with the provisions of § 63.2-1717.

6. A program of recreational activities offered by local governments, staffed by local government employees, and attended by school-age children. Such programs shall be subject to safety and supervisory standards established by the local government offering the program.

7. A program offered by a local school division, operated for no more than four hours per day, staffed by local school division employees, and attended by children who are at least four years of age and are enrolled in public school or a preschool program within such school division. Such programs shall be subject to safety and supervisory standards established by the local school division offering the program.

8. Child-minding services offered by a business on the premises of the business to no more than four children under the age of 13 at any given time and for no more than eight hours per day, provided that the parent or guardian of every child receiving care is an employee of the business who is on the premises of the business and can resume responsibility for the child's supervision within 30 minutes upon request.

C. Child day programs that are exempt from licensure pursuant to subsection B, except for child day programs that are exempt from licensure pursuant to subdivision B 1 or 5, shall:

1. File with the Commissioner annually and prior to beginning operation of a child day program a statement indicating the intent to operate a child day program, identifying the specific provision of this section relied upon for exemption from licensure, and certifying that the child day program has disclosed in writing to the parents or guardians of the children in the program the fact that it is exempt from licensure;

2. Report to the Commissioner all incidents involving serious physical injury to or death of children attending the child day program. Reports of serious physical injuries, which shall include any physical injuries that require an emergency referral to an offsite health care professional or treatment in a hospital, shall be submitted annually. Reports of deaths shall be submitted no later than one business day after the death occurred; and

3. Post in a visible location on the premises notice that the child day program is operating as a program exempt from licensure with basic health and safety requirements but has no direct oversight by the Department.

D. Child day programs that are exempt from licensure pursuant to subsection B, except for child day programs that are exempt from licensure pursuant to subdivision B 1, 5, 6, or 7 shall:

1. Have a person trained and certified in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation present at the child day program whenever children are present or at any other location in which children attending the child day program are present;

2. Maintain daily attendance records that document the arrival and departure of all children;

3. Have an emergency preparedness plan in place;

4. Comply with all applicable laws and regulations governing transportation of children; and

5. Comply with all safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

E. The Commissioner shall inspect child day programs that are exempt from licensure pursuant to subsection B to determine compliance with the provisions of this section only upon receipt of a complaint, except as otherwise provided by law.

F. Family day homes that are members of a licensed family day system shall not be required to obtain a license from the Commissioner.

G. No person to whom parental and legal custodial powers have been delegated pursuant to Chapter 10 (§ 20-166 et seq.) of Title 20 shall be required to obtain a license to operate an independent foster home or approval as a foster parent from the Commissioner.

H. Officers, employees, or agents of the Commonwealth, or of any county, city, or town acting within the scope of their authority as such, who serve as or maintain a child-placing agency shall not be required to be licensed.

1993, cc. 730, 742, § 63.1-196.001; 1994, cc. 837, 940; 1999, c. 454; 2000, cc. 61, 1058; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 467; 2006, c. 725; 2011, c. 363; 2014, c. 130; 2016, c. 442; 2017, c. 748; 2018, cc. 189, 244, 810; 2019, cc. 297, 667.

§ 63.2-1715. (Effective July 1, 2021) Exemptions from licensure.

A. No person to whom parental and legal custodial powers have been delegated pursuant to Chapter 10 (§ 20-166 et seq.) of Title 20 shall be required to obtain a license to operate an independent foster home or approval as a foster parent from the Commissioner.

B. Officers, employees, or agents of the Commonwealth, or of any county, city, or town acting within the scope of their authority as such, who serve as or maintain a child-placing agency shall not be required to be licensed.

1993, cc. 730, 742, § 63.1-196.001; 1994, cc. 837, 940; 1999, c. 454; 2000, cc. 61, 1058; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 467; 2006, c. 725; 2011, c. 363; 2014, c. 130; 2016, c. 442; 2017, c. 748; 2018, cc. 189, 244, 810; 2019, cc. 297, 667; 2020, cc. 860, 861.

§ 63.2-1716. (Repealed effective July 1, 2021) Child day center operated by religious institution exempt from licensure; annual statement and documentary evidence required; enforcement; injunctive relief.

A. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, a child day center, including a child day center that is a child welfare agency operated or conducted under the auspices of a religious institution, shall be exempt from the licensure requirements of this subtitle, but shall comply with the provisions of this section unless it chooses to be licensed. If such religious institution chooses not to be licensed, it shall file with the Commissioner, prior to beginning operation of a child day center and thereafter annually, a statement of intent to operate a child day center, certification that the child day center has disclosed in writing to the parents or guardians of the children in the center the fact that it is exempt from licensure and has posted the fact that it is exempt from licensure in a visible location on the premises, the qualifications of the personnel employed therein, and documentary evidence that:

1. Such religious institution has tax exempt status as a nonprofit religious institution in accordance with § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, or that the real property owned and exclusively occupied by the religious institution is exempt from local taxation.

2. Within the prior 90 days for the initial exemption and within the prior 180 days for exemptions thereafter, the local health department and local fire marshal or Office of the State Fire Marshal, whichever is appropriate, have inspected the physical facilities of the child day center and have determined that the center is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations with regard to food service activities, health and sanitation, water supply, building codes, and the Statewide Fire Prevention Code or the Uniform Statewide Building Code.

3. The child day center employs supervisory personnel according to the following ratio of staff to children:

a. One staff member to four children from ages zero to 16 months.

b. One staff member to five children from ages 16 months to 24 months.

c. One staff member to eight children from ages 24 months to 36 months.

d. One staff member to 10 children from ages 36 months to five years.

e. One staff member to 20 children from ages five years to nine years.

f. One staff member to 25 children from ages nine years to 12 years.

Staff shall be counted in the required staff-to-children ratios only when they are directly supervising children. When a group of children receiving care includes children from different age brackets, the age of the youngest child in the group shall be used to determine the staff-to-children ratio that applies to that group. For each group of children receiving care, at least one adult staff member shall be regularly present. However, during designated daily rest periods and designated sleep periods of evening and overnight care programs, for children ages 16 months to six years, only one staff member shall be required to be present with the children under supervision. In such cases, at least one staff member shall be physically present in the same space as the children under supervision at all times. Other staff members counted for purposes of the staff-to-child ratio need not be physically present in the same space as the resting or sleeping children, but shall be present on the same floor as the resting or sleeping children and shall have no barrier to their immediate access to the resting or sleeping children. The staff member who is physically present in the same space as the sleeping children shall be able to summon additional staff counted in the staff-to-child ratio without leaving the space in which the resting or sleeping children are located.

Staff members shall be at least 16 years of age. Staff members under 18 years of age shall be under the supervision of an adult staff member. Adult staff members shall supervise no more than two staff members under 18 years of age at any given time.

4. Each person in a supervisory position has been certified by a practicing physician or physician assistant to be free from any disability which would prevent him from caring for children under his supervision.

5. The center is in compliance with the requirements of:

a. This section.

b. Section 63.2-1724 relating to background checks.

c. Section 63.2-1509 relating to the reporting of suspected cases of child abuse and neglect.

d. Chapter 3 (§ 46.2-300 et seq.) of Title 46.2 regarding a valid Virginia driver's license or commercial driver's license; Article 21 (§ 46.2-1157 et seq.) of Chapter 10 of Title 46.2, regarding vehicle inspections; ensuring that any vehicle used to transport children is an insured motor vehicle as defined in § 46.2-705; and Article 13 (§ 46.2-1095 et seq.) of Chapter 10 of Title 46.2, regarding child restraint devices.

6. The following aspects of the child day center's operations are described in a written statement provided to the parents or guardians of the children in the center and made available to the general public: physical facilities, enrollment capacity, food services, health requirements for the staff and public liability insurance.

7. The individual seeking to operate the child day center is not currently ineligible to operate another child welfare agency due to a suspension or revocation of his license or license exemption for reasons involving child safety or any criminal conviction, including fraud, related to such child welfare agency.

8. A person trained and certified in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will be present at the child day center whenever children are present or at any other location in which children attending the child day center are present.

9. The child day center is in compliance with all safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

B. The center shall establish and implement procedures for:

1. Hand washing by staff and children before eating and after toileting and diapering.

2. Appropriate supervision of all children in care, including daily intake and dismissal procedures to ensure safety of children.

3. A daily simple health screening and exclusion of sick children by a person trained to perform such screenings.

4. Ensuring that all children in the center are in compliance with the provisions of § 32.1-46 regarding the immunization of children against certain diseases.

5. Ensuring that all areas of the premises accessible to children are free of obvious injury hazards, including providing and maintaining sand or other cushioning material under playground equipment.

6. Ensuring that all staff are able to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect.

7. Ensuring that all incidents involving serious physical injury to or death of children attending the child day center are reported to the Commissioner. Reports of serious physical injuries, which shall include any physical injuries that require an emergency referral to an offsite health care professional or treatment in a hospital, shall be submitted annually. Reports of deaths shall be submitted no later than one business day after the death occurred.

C. The Commissioner may perform on-site inspections of religious institutions to confirm compliance with the provisions of this section and to investigate complaints that the religious institution is not in compliance with the provisions of this section. The Commissioner may revoke the exemption for any child day center in serious or persistent violation of the requirements of this section. If a religious institution operates a child day center and does not file the statement and documentary evidence required by this section, the Commissioner shall give reasonable notice to such religious institution of the nature of its noncompliance and may thereafter take such action as he determines appropriate, including a suit to enjoin the operation of the child day center.

D. Any person who has reason to believe that a child day center falling within the provisions of this section is not in compliance with the requirements of this section may report the same to the local department, the local health department or the local fire marshal, each of which may inspect the child day center for noncompliance, give reasonable notice to the religious institution, and thereafter may take appropriate action as provided by law, including a suit to enjoin the operation of the child day center.

E. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a child day center operated by or conducted under the auspices of a religious institution from obtaining a license pursuant to this chapter.

1979, c. 425, § 63.1-196.3; 1989, c. 258; 1993, cc. 730, 742; 2000, c. 283; 2002, c. 747; 2004, c. 113; 2006, c. 396; 2009, c. 258; 2018, cc. 6, 810; 2020, cc. 494, 495.

§ 63.2-1717. (Repealed effective July 1, 2021) Certification of preschool or nursery school programs operated by accredited private schools; provisional certification; annual statement and documentary evidence required; enforcement; injunctive relief.

A. A preschool or nursery school program operated by a private school accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the Board of Education pursuant to § 22.1-19 shall be exempt from licensure under this subtitle if it complies with the provisions of this section and meets the requirements of subsection B.

B. A school described in subsection A shall meet the following conditions in order to be exempt under this subsection:

1. The school offers kindergarten or elementary school instructional programs that satisfy compulsory school attendance laws, and children below the age of compulsory school attendance also participate in such instructional programs;

2. The number of pupils in the preschool program does not exceed 12 pupils for each instructional adult, or if operated as a Montessori program with mixed age groups of three-year-old to six-year-old children, the number of pupils in the preschool program does not exceed 15 pupils for each instructional adult;

3. The school (i) maintains an average enrollment ratio during the current school year of five children age five or above to one four-year-old child, and no child in attendance is under age four, or (ii) does not allow children below the age of eligibility for kindergarten attendance to attend the preschool program for more than five hours per day, of which no more than four hours of instructional classes may be provided per day, and no child in attendance is under age three;

4. The preschool offers instructional classes and does not hold itself out as a child care center, child day center, or child day program;

5. Children enrolled in the preschool do not attend more than five days per week; and

6. The school maintains a certificate or permit issued pursuant to a local government ordinance that addresses health, safety, and welfare of the children.

C. The school shall file with the Commissioner, prior to the beginning of the school year or calendar year, as the case may be, and thereafter, annually, a statement which includes the following:

1. Intent to operate a certified preschool program;

2. Documentary evidence that the school has been accredited as provided in subsection A;

3. Documentation that the school has disclosed in writing to the parents, guardians, or persons having charge of a child enrolled in the school's preschool program and has posted in a visible location on the premises the fact of the program's exemption from licensure;

4. Documentary evidence that the physical facility in which the preschool program will be conducted has been inspected (i) before initial certification by the local building official and (ii) within the 12-month period prior to initial certification and at least annually thereafter by the local health department, and local fire marshal or Office of the State Fire Marshal, whichever is appropriate, and an inspection report that documents that the facility is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations pertaining to food services, health and sanitation, water supply, building codes, and the Statewide Fire Prevention Code or the Uniform Statewide Building Code;

5. Documentation that the school has disclosed the following in writing to the parents, guardians, or persons having charge of a child enrolled in the school's preschool program, and in a written statement available to the general public: (i) the school facility is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations pertaining to food services, health and sanitation, water supply, building codes, and the Statewide Fire Prevention Code or the Uniform Statewide Building Code; (ii) the preschool program's maximum capacity; (iii) the school's policy or practice for pupil-teacher ratio, staffing patterns, and staff health requirements; and (iv) a description of the school's public liability insurance, if any;

6. Qualifications of school personnel who work in the preschool program;

7. Certification that the school will report to the Commissioner all incidents involving serious injury to or death of children attending the preschool program. Reports of serious injuries, which shall include any injuries that require an emergency referral to an offsite health care professional or treatment in a hospital, shall be submitted annually. Reports of deaths shall be submitted no later than one business day after the death occurred; and

8. Documentary evidence that the private school requires all employees of the preschool and other school employees who have contact with the children enrolled in the preschool program to obtain a criminal record check as provided in § 63.2-1720.1 to meet the requirements of § 22.1-296.3 as a condition of initial or continued employment.

All accredited private schools seeking certification of preschool programs shall file such information on forms prescribed by the Commissioner. The Commissioner shall certify all preschool programs of accredited private schools which comply with the provisions of subsection A. The Commissioner may conduct an annual inspection of such preschool programs to ensure compliance with the provisions of this section and conduct inspections to investigate complaints alleging noncompliance.

D. A preschool program of a private school that has not been accredited as provided in subsection A shall be subject to licensure.

E. If the preschool program of a private school that is accredited as provided in subsection A fails to file the statement and the required documentary evidence, the Commissioner shall notify the school of its noncompliance and may thereafter take such action as he determines appropriate, including notice that the program is required to be licensed.

F. The revocation or denial of the certification of a preschool program shall be subject to appeal pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.). Judicial review of a final agency decision shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act.

G. Any person who has reason to believe that a private school falling within the provisions of this section is in noncompliance with any applicable requirement of this section may report the same to the Department, the local department, the local health department, or the local fire marshal, each of which may inspect the school for noncompliance, give reasonable notice to the school of the nature of its noncompliance, and thereafter may take appropriate action as provided by law, including a suit to enjoin the operation of the preschool program.

H. Upon receipt of a complaint concerning a certified preschool program of an accredited private school, if for good cause shown there is reason to suspect that the school is in noncompliance with any provision of this section or the health or safety of the children attending the preschool program is in danger, the Commissioner shall cause an investigation to be made, including on-site visits as he deems necessary of the services, personnel, and facilities of the school's preschool program. The school shall afford the Commissioner reasonable opportunity to inspect the school's preschool program, records, and facility, and to interview the employees and any child or parent or guardian of a child who is or has been enrolled in the preschool program. If, upon completion of the investigation, it is determined that the school is in noncompliance with the provisions of this section, the Commissioner shall give reasonable notice to the school of the nature of its noncompliance and thereafter may take appropriate action as provided by law, including a suit to enjoin the operation of the preschool program.

I. Failure of a private school to comply with the provisions of this section, or a finding that the health and safety of the children attending the preschool program are in clear and substantial danger upon the completion of an investigation, shall be grounds for revocation of the certification issued pursuant to this section.

J. If a private school operates a child day program outside the scope of its instructional classes during the school year or operates a child day program during the summer, the child day program shall be subject to licensure under the regulations adopted pursuant to § 63.2-1734.

K. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a preschool operated by or conducted under the auspices of a private school from obtaining a license pursuant to this subtitle.

1993, cc. 730, 742, § 63.1-196.3:1; 1994, cc. 837, 940; 1999, c. 454; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 467; 2017, cc. 748, 809; 2018, cc. 99, 107.

§ 63.2-1718. Inspection of unlicensed child or adult care operations; inspection warrant.

In order to perform his duties under this subtitle, the Commissioner may enter and inspect any unlicensed child or adult care operation with the consent of the owner or person in charge, or pursuant to a warrant. Administrative search warrants for inspections of child or adult care operations, based upon a petition demonstrating probable cause and supported by an affidavit, may be issued ex parte by any judge having authority to issue criminal warrants whose territorial jurisdiction includes the child or adult care operation to be inspected, if he is satisfied from the petition and affidavit that there is reasonable and probable cause for the inspection. The affidavit shall contain either a statement that consent to inspect has been sought and refused, or that facts and circumstances exist reasonably justifying the failure to seek such consent. Such facts may include, without limitation, past refusals to permit inspection or facts establishing reason to believe that seeking consent would provide an opportunity to conceal violations of statutes or regulations. Probable cause may be demonstrated by an affidavit showing probable cause to believe that the child or adult care operation is in violation of any provision of this subtitle or any regulation adopted pursuant to this subtitle, or upon a showing that the inspection is to be made pursuant to a reasonable administrative plan for the administration of this subtitle. The inspection of a child or adult care operation that has been the subject of a complaint pursuant to § 63.2-1728 shall have preeminent priority over any other inspections of child or adult care operations to be made by the Commissioner unless the complaint on its face or in the context of information known to the Commissioner discloses that the complaint has been brought to harass, to retaliate, or otherwise to achieve an improper purpose, and that the improper purpose casts serious doubt on the veracity of the complaint. After issuing a warrant under this section, the judge shall file the affidavit in the manner prescribed by § 19.2-54. Such warrant shall be executed and returned to the clerk of the circuit court of the city or county wherein the inspection was made.

1993, cc. 730, 742, § 63.1-198.04; 2002, c. 747; 2014, c. 354.

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