DCF Issues Revised Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers

Posted on March 3rd, 2017

The New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) recently released an updated version of N.J.A.C. 10:122, the Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers, anticipated to go into effect in March 2017. The DCF Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers outlines the official state licensing requirements governing child care centers in New Jersey, including both early childhood programs (for children below six years of age) and school-age child care programs (for children below 13 years of age when their school is not in session).

The DCF is responsible for evaluating existing and prospective child care centers and ultimately issuing the child care center’s license. DCF works with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and Department of Health (DOH) to ensure that each existing and proposed child care center is protective of human health and the environmental prior to licensing. DOH is responsible for the regulation of the indoor environment at a child care center, review of Indoor Environmental Health Assessments, and issuance of Safe Building Interior Certifications when required. NJDEP is responsible for review of the Response Action Outcome (RAO) and associated reports issued by the Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) for the child care center. NJDEP is also responsible for the certification of acceptable drinking water, if necessary. Blogs that outline NJDEP requirements for child care centers can be found here and here.

Several significant changes to licensing requirements were made in the updated DCF manual, and are summarized below:

• Child care centers integral to a private school providing elementary education in grades kindergarten through sixth are exempt from licensure. The previous version of the manual exempted child care centers in private schools providing elementary education in grades kindergarten through sixth, seventh, or eighth.
• As of one year after the effective date of the revised manual, all new or relocating child care centers cannot be located in a building that was formerly a dry cleaner or a funeral home.
• Child care centers that do not have children in attendance for a period of six months or more will be deemed as closed, and a new license will need to be issued if the center should elect to serve children in the future.
• If the child care facility is supplied by a public community water system, documentation of water testing for lead and copper from all drinking water fountains and at least 50% of all indoor water faucets utilized by the center is required.
• A child care center operating in a public school will be exempt from the requirements of the manual, other than the water testing requirements, unless otherwise required by law.

The full manual can be viewed on the DCF website.

JM Sorge, Inc. is experienced in completing Preliminary Assessments and Site Investigations required for child care licensure, and is also licensed by the NJDOH to conduct Indoor Environmental Health Assessments. Please contact JM Sorge, Inc. at 908-218-0066 or for a Child Care Center/Educational Facility environmental evaluation.

Kelly Christopher
Project Manager

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