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Child care for four (4) or less children in a residence may not be regulated by state licensing requirements. Per the Chesapeake Zoning Ordinance, the care of four (4) or less children would be considered a Level I Home Occupation and is permitted only in single family dwellings. Daycare is not permitted in multi-family dwellings, including but not limited to, apartments & condos. Click link here for printable handout.
Approval for 5-12 children may be permitted as a Level II Home Occupation by obtaining a Conditional Use Permit.
Chesapeake Zoning Ordinance
A. Licensing and building code requirements. All child care facilities and adult day care centers must comply with the licensing requirements of the Virginia department of social services and the structural requirements of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code applicable to the facility in order to comply with this zoning ordinance.
B. Use permit required for child care operations which are not home occupations.
- Any child care facility operated other than as a home occupation meeting the requirements of this ordinance and located outside of the O & I (office and institutional) district shall require a conditional use permit. In certain circumstances, a child care facility operated as a home occupation may require a conditional use permit], as provided for in section 14-300 et seq.
- Any use permit application submitted for a child care facility shall include all information required to demonstrate that the proposed facility will meet all applicable licensure and building code requirements. The site plan for such application shall delineate play areas, fencing and other structures or features required for licensure.
The following information was obtained from the Virginia Department of Social Services website and should only be used as a reference. All state requirements should be confirmed
with the state.
Not all child day care programs in Virginia are required to be licensed. A child day care program in Virginia refers to a regularly operating service arrangement for children where, during the absence of a parent or guardian, a person or organization has agreed to assume responsibility for the supervision, protection, and well-being of a child under the age of 13 for less than a twenty-four-hour period.
There are two types of child day care pro-grams: Out-of-home care (Center-Based) and in-home care (Family-Based) in a private home. These two types of care can be further broken down into:
- Unlicensed (but regulated)
- Approved; and
- Unlicensed and Unregistered
Licensed Child Day Care Programs
Licensed child day care programs are inspected at least twice per year. They have requirements for background checks, training/orientation, and health and safety.
Note: Some programs offering child day care obtain a general business license to operate from the county within which they do business; however, that license is not the same as a child day care license obtained from the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS), which holds the child day care provider accountable to the health and safety standards set forth by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Unlicensed but Regulated
Unlicensed but Regulated child day care pro-grams vary in their requirements.
- Voluntarily registered family day homes are required to be inspected prior to certification, and every two years thereafter, to complete background checks and meet certain health and safety standards.
- Religiously exempt child day centers are required to complete background checks and must self-certify annually that the program is in compliance with background checks and health and safety requirements.
- Certified preschools are operated by an ac-credited private school and are required to complete background checks and must self-certify prior to certification, and annually thereafter, regarding criminal record clearances on all employees, a list of staff qualifications, and health and fire inspection reports.
Religious exempt child day centers and certified preschool programs are not inspected by VDSS unless there is a complaint.
THIS OPTION IS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE CITY OF CHESAPEAKE: Approved child day care programs are regulated by an entity other than VDSS. These programs include certain northern Virginia localities - Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax who have the authority to approve by local ordinance certain family day homes and child day centers.
Unlicensed and Unregistered
Unlicensed and unregistered child day care pro-grams do not have any of the following requirements: background checks, training/orientation, or health and safety requirements; and only minimal Code of Virginia requirements. Unlicensed centers must meet an exemption in the Code of Virginia in section 63.2-1715. Unlicensed family day homes must follow requirements in sections 63.2-1727 and 63.2-1704.1 of the Code. VDSS does not inspect these programs.
For questions regarding the Conditional Use Permit process please contact the Planning Department at 757-382-6176
For state requirements contact Virginia Department of Social Services at 804-726-7000
For Zoning or Building Department questions contact Development & Permits at 757-382-6018